Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fossil fuel CO2 emissions up by 29 percent since 2000

19.11.2009
The strongest evidence yet that the rise in atmospheric CO2 emissions continues to outstrip the ability of the world's natural 'sinks' to absorb carbon is published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

An international team of researchers under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project reports that over the last 50 years the average fraction of global CO2 emissions that remained in the atmosphere each year was around 43 per cent - the rest was absorbed by the Earth's carbon sinks on land and in the oceans.

During this time this fraction has likely increased from 40 per cent to 45 per cent, suggesting a decrease in the efficiency of the natural sinks. The team brings evidence that the sinks are responding to climate change and variability.

The scientists report a 29 per cent increase in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel between 2000 and 2008 (the latest year for which figures are available), and that in spite of the global economic downturn emissions increased by 2 per cent during 2008. The use of coal as a fuel has now surpassed oil and developing countries now emit more greenhouse gases than developed countries – with a quarter of their growth in emissions accounted for by increased trade with the West.

Lead author Prof Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the British Antarctic Survey said: "The only way to control climate change is through a drastic reduction in global CO2 emissions. The Earth's carbon sinks are complex and there are some gaps in our understanding, particularly in our ability to link human-induced CO2 emissions to atmospheric CO2 concentrations on a year-to-year basis. But, if we can reduce the uncertainty about the carbon sinks, our data could be used to verify the effectiveness of climate mitigations policies."

The main findings of the study include:

CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels increased by two per cent from 2007 to 2008, by 29 per cent between 2008 and 2000, and by 41 per cent between 2008 and 1990 – the reference year of the Kyoto Protocol.

CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have increased at an average annual rate of 3.4 per cent between 2000 and 2008, compared with one per cent per year in the 1990s.

Emissions from land use change have remained almost constant since 2000, but now account for a significantly smaller proportion of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions (20 per cent in 2000 to 12 per cent in 2008).

The fraction of total CO2 emissions remaining in the atmosphere has likely increased from 40 to 45 per cent since 1959, models suggests this is due to the response of the natural CO2 sinks to climate change and variability.

Emissions from coal are now the dominant fossil fuel emission source, surpassing 40 years of oil emission prevalence.

The financial crisis had a small but discernable impact on emissions growth in 2008 – with a two per cent increase compared with an average 3.6 per cent over the previous seven years. On the basis of projected changes in GDP, emissions for 2009 are expected to fall to their 2007 levels, before increasing again in 2010.

Emissions from emerging economies such as China and India have more than doubled since 1990 and developing countries now emit more greenhouse gases than developed countries.

A quarter of the growth in CO2 emissions in developing countries can be accounted for by an increase in international trade of goods and services.

The researchers called for more work to be done to improve our understanding of the land and ocean CO2 sinks, so that global action to control climate change can be independently monitored. The sinks have a major influence on climate change and are important in understanding the link between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 concentration. But so far scientists have not been able to calculate the CO2 uptake of the sinks with sufficient accuracy to explain all the annual changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which hinders the scientists' ability to monitor the effectiveness of CO2 mitigations policies.

Further information available on: www.globalcarbonproject.org

'Trends in the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide' by Corinne Le Quéré (University of East Anglia/British Antarctic Survey), Michael Raupach (CSIRO), Josep Canadell (CSIRO), Gregg Marland (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Laurent Bopp (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de Environnement), Philippe Ciais (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de Environnement), Thomas Conway (NOAA), Scott Doney (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), Richard Feely (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory), Pru Foster (University of Bristol), Pierre Friedlingstein (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de Environnement/University of Bristol), Kevin Gurney (Purdue University), Richard Houghton (Woods Hole Research Center), Johanna House (University of Bristol), Chris Huntingford (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Peter Levy (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Mark Lomas (University of Sheffield), Joseph Majkut (Princeton University), Nicolas Metzl (Universite Pierre et Marie Curie), Jean Ometto (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais), Glen Peters (Center for International Climate and Environmental Research), Colin Prentice (University of Bristol), James Randerson (University of California), Steven Running (University of Montana), Jorge Sarmiento (University of Sheffield), Ute Shuster (University of East Anglia), Stephen Sitch (University of Leeds), Taro Takahashi (Columbia University), Nicolas Viovy (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de Environnement), Guido van der Werf (University of Amsterdam) and Ian Woodward (University of Sheffield) is published by Nature Geoscience on Tuesday November 17 2009.

Simon Dunford | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uea.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers

26.06.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

New research reveals impact of seismic surveys on zooplankton

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Correct connections are crucial

26.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>