Global CO2 emissions may reach ‘record levels in 2010′

Monday, November 22, 2010

LONDON - A new study from the University of Exeter (UK) has said that global CO2 emissions may reach record levels in 2010.

The authors found that global CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuel in 2009 were only 1.3 per cent below the record 2008 figures - less than half the drop predicted a year ago.

The global financial crisis severely affected western economies, leading to large reductions in CO2 emissions. For example, UK emissions were 8.6percent lower in 2009 than in 2008. Similar figures apply to USA, Japan, France, Germany, and most other industrialised nations.

But emerging economies had a strong economic performance despite the financial crisis, and recorded substantial increases in CO2 emissions.

“The 2009 drop in CO2 emissions is less than half that anticipated a year ago. This is because the drop in world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was less than anticipated and the carbon intensity of world GDP, which is the amount of CO2 released per unit of GDP, improved by only 0.7 per cent in 2009 - well below its long-term average of 1.7percent per year,” Nature quoted Professor Pierre Friedlingstein as saying.

Increased share of fossil-fuel CO2 emissions produced by emerging economies with a relatively high carbon intensity, and an increasing reliance on coal have failed to curb carbon intensity.

And if the current trend continues, global fossil fuel emissions will increase by more than 3 percent in 2010, approaching the high emissions growth rates observed through 2000 to 2008.

The study also found that global CO2 emissions from deforestation have decreased by over 25 percent since 2000 compared to the 1990s, mainly because of reduced CO2 emissions from tropical deforestation.

“For the first time, forest expansion in temperate latitudes has overcompensated deforestation emissions and caused a small net sink of CO2 outside the tropics”, said Professor Corinne Le Quere, from the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey.

The study is published in Nature Geoscience. (ANI)

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