Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels – the principal driver of climate change – have accelerated globally at a far greater rate than expected over recent years, according to a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The paper explains that the average growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions increased from 1.1 per cent a year in the 1990s to a three per cent increase per year in the 2000s.
Lead author of the paper, Dr Mike Raupach from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research and the Global Carbon Project, says that nearly eight billion tonnes of carbon were emitted globally into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide in 2005, compared with just six billion tonnes in 1995.
"A major driver of the accelerating growth rate in emissions is that, globally, we’re burning more carbon per dollar of wealth created," Dr Raupach says. In the last few years, the global usage of fossil fuels has actually become less efficient. This adds to pressures from increasing population and wealth."
"As countries undergo industrial development, they move through a period of intensive, and often inefficient, use of fossil fuel. Efficiencies improve along this development trajectory, but eventually tend to level off. Industrialised countries such as Australia and the US are at the levelling-off stage, while developing countries such as China are at the intensive-development stage. Both factors are decreasing the global efficiency of fossil fuel use."
He says that China’s emissions per person are still below the global average. "On average, each person in Australia and the US now emits more than five tonnes of carbon per year, while in China the figure is only one tonne per year. Since the start of the industrial revolution, the US and Europe account for more than 50 per cent of the total, accumulated global emissions over two centuries, while China accounts for less than eight per cent. The 50 least developed countries have together contributed less than 0.5 per cent of global cumulative emissions over 200 years."
Dr Raupach says that Australia, with 0.32 per cent of the global population, contributes 1.43 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions.
He says recent efforts globally to reduce emissions have had little impact on emissions growth. "Recent emissions seem to be near the high end of the fossil fuel use scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Our results add to previous findings that carbon dioxide concentrations, global temperatures and sea level rise are all near the high end of IPCC projections."
Dr Raupach led an international team of carbon-cycle experts, emissions experts and economists, brought together by the Global Carbon Project, to quantify global carbon emissions and their drivers.
"In addition to reinforcing the urgency of the need to reduce emissions, an important outcome of this work is to show that carbon emissions have history. We have to take both present and past emissions trajectories into account in negotiating global emissions reductions. To be effective, emissions reductions have to be both workable and equitable," he says.
Simon Torok | EurekAlert!
From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future
27.04.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Penn researchers quantify the changes that lightning inspires in rock
27.04.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences