Issue Date: May 7, 2012
Climate Change: Global Growth Of Carbon Dioxide Emissions Continues
After declining 1.5% in 2009, global carbon dioxide emissions rose 5.8% in 2010, the largest yearly jump in two decades, according to a Worldwatch Institute report released on April 28. Worldwatch is a Washington, D.C.-based, environmental think tank.
Report author Xing Fu-Bertaux says economic recovery is the primary reason for the increase. In addition, the report finds little progress in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, noting that CO2 levels are now 45% higher than they were in 1990, a reference year for efforts to cut emissions.
The report focuses on CO2 emissions because among greenhouse gases CO2 resides longest in the atmosphere and is the most abundant, making up 70% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Growth of atmospheric CO2 levels has been accompanied by significant global temperature increases in the past decade, the report notes. The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to a recent NASA study cited in the report.
Developing countries led the 2010 jump in CO2 emissions with a 7.6% increase. Emissions from European Union nations, Japan, Canada, and the U.S. also grew, but by an average of 3.4%. Among developed countries, the top two CO2 emitters were Japan with 6.8% growth and the U.S. with a 4.1% increase.
China’s growing economy resulted in a 10.3% increase in 2010 CO2 emissions, the highest increase among all countries. China emits 25.4% of the world’s total CO2 emissions and was the largest contributor in 2010.
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