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New Report Indicates Record Carbon Dioxide Emissions


The Global Carbon Project, jointly conducted by scientists from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA) released new figures, which indicate yet another rise in global carbon dioxide emissions. It is predicted that by the end of 2012, the numbers will reach the record 35.6 billion tonnes.

When compared to the figures used as a baseline for the Kyoto protocol in 1990, the emissions released as a result of burning of fossil fuel are 58% higher.

Nature Climate Change published the study on 2nd of December, while at the same time the full data set appeared in Earth System Science Data Discussions. China is found to be the biggest contributor with 28% of the emissions, followed by the U.S, (16%), the European union (11%) and India (7%). All of them has shown an increase in their emissions since 2011.

The lead author of the study and the publication of the data, Prof Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor at UEA, stated that although these new figures are discussed in Doha, the scientific community is somehow ignored. She is concerned that such striking figures should be taken seriously and a radical plan should be implemented immediately.

The findings also suggest that in order to meet the goal of 2% decrease by 2020, significant reductions of emissions are needed. The study gives an example with countries that have already made energy transitions that have resulted in emission reductions as high as 5% in a decade even without specific climate policies. These include Belgium, Denmark, France, Sweden, and the UK. According to Glen Peters, lead author of the publication in Nature Climate Change, such transitions should be scaled up and implemented in more countries.

Dr. Charlie Wilson, a co-author from the Tyndall Center at UEA is certain that low carbon and efficient energy-using technologies should be supported by public polices and institutions. He adds that additional 10% of the emissions come from deforestation and other land-use changes.

In the end of 2011, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 391 parts per million. These figures indicated that the dangerously high concentrations could have serious impact on society. Different analyses that support the findings of this current study came from the International Energy Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank, the European Environment Agency, and PricewaterhouseCoopers and were published in the past few weeks.

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