Recession did not lower C02 emissions - Climate Change - Environment - The Independent

Recession did not lower C02 emissions

 

A A A

The world is on course for the "worst case" scenario of global
warming, with average worldwide temperatures increasing by between
4C and 6C in the coming century, according to the latest analysis
of how much man-made carbon dioxide is being pumped into the
atmosphere.

Latest figures on CO2 emissions show that the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 has had virtually no impact on the long-term increase in greenhouse gases released from the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other industrial activities.

The amount of man-made carbon dioxide released in 2010 reached a record 10 billion tonnes, nearly 6 per cent higher than in 2009. It has returned the world to a path of ever-higher emissions that will make it increasingly difficult to keep within the 2C target that most experts believe is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.

Unlike previous global recessions, which caused long-term dips in carbon dioxide emissions lasting several years, the recent recession caused just one year's fall of 1.9 per cent, which was quickly reversed by a dramatic rebound of 2010 and 2011, said Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

"Global CO2 emissions since 2000 are tracking the high end of the projections used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which far exceed 2C warming by 2100," Professor Le Quéré said.

"Yet governments have pledged to keep warming below 2C to avoid the most dangerous aspects of climate change such as widespread water stress and sea level rise, and increases in extreme climatic events," she said.

"The take-home message coming out from these figures is that people are not understanding the scale of the changes that are needed to limit the temperature change to within the 2C target," she added.

Despite the attempts to curb carbon dioxide emissions under the Kyoto Protocol and Copenhagen Accord, and eventually to cut them to below 1990 levels, the fast-growing economies of the developing world, particularly China and India, have ensured the overall trend continues to accelerate upwards.

The last decade has seen an unprecedented increase in greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels, deforestation and the manufacture of cement, resulting in an average rise of 3.1 per cent per year. This compares with an annual increase of just 1 per cent per year during the 1990s.

Overall, the global emissions of carbon dioxide from man-made sources have increased by nearly 50 per cent over the past two decades, culminating in the release of a record 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2010. The trend has continued on the same trajectory during 2011, Professor Le Quéré said.

"There has been a complete rebound during 2010 and we are now on the same trajectory we were before the global financial recession of 2008-2009. These are huge growth rates and it looks like it is a trend that is here to stay," Professor Le Quéré said.

"We are now tracking the high end of the worst case scenario of the IPCC. At the moment we are very far away from keeping within the target of a 2C increase in global temperatures by the end of the century. We are more on course for a 4C rise, and possibly as high as 6C if carbon feedbacks begin," she said.

There are already signs of such feedbacks. In 2008, an estimated 45 per cent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions remained in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed by natural "sinks" on land and sea. In 2010, about 50 per cent of man-made carbon dioxide remained in the atmosphere, with the natural sinks appearing less effective than in previous years.

The study was carried out by the Global Carbon Project, a consortium of climate scientists and economists from around the world and published in the journal Nature Climate Change. It found that the global recession has had a far bigger impact on the carbon emissions of the developed world than those of the developing world.

In the developed world, carbon dioxide emissions fell by 1.3 per cent in 2008 and fell again by 7.6 per cent in 2009, rising by 3.4 per cent in 2010. Whereas in the developing world, dominated by China, emissions actually increased by 4.4 per cent in 2008, increased by 3.9 per cent in 2009 and 7.6 per cent in 2010, according to the study.

Glen Peters of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Norway, a lead author of the study, said that in some ways the global financial crisis was a missed opportunity in terms of attempting to curb future carbon dioxide emissions.

"Many saw the global financial crisis as an opportunity to move the global economy away from persistent and high emissions growth, but the return to emissions growth in 2010 suggests the opportunity was not exploited," Dr Peters said.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week