From Green Right Now Reports
World wide carbon emissions reached their highest point in 800,000 years rising by nearly 6 percent in 2010 after falling back during the 2008-2009 economic recession, according to the annual Global Carbon Project.
The carbon in the atmosphere reached 389.6 parts per million at the end of 2010, the highest level recorded in known history. That compares with a carbon levels under 300 ppm in the mid-1800s, in the early years of the industrial revolution.
China, the US, India, Russia and the European Union were the biggest contributions to global emissions growth in 2010, according to the GCP analysis released today.
The report identified coal burning and cement emissions as major factors in rising carbon air pollution. Those two activities accounted for about 52 percent of the growth in emissions. Deforestation was another major contributor.
The financial crisis was a missed opportunity to move the economy away from its high emissions enterprises, according to the international group of scientists compiling the report.
“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,” said the report’s lead author, Dr. Glen Peters of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Norway.
The GCP’s Executive Director Dr. Pep Canadell of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia also lamented the missed opportunity, but noted some positive signs in the political response to climate change.
“This opportunity has not been realized but developed countries have moved some way closer to their emission reduction commitments as promised in the Kyoto Protocol and
the Copenhagen Accord,” he said.
Climate negotiators from nearly 200 countries are in the middle of a two-week meeting, COP17, in Durban, South Africa, trying to hammer out an international climate agreement to pick up after the Kyoto agreement expires in a year.
The Durban talks have been portraying as bleak and unpromising for a variety of reasons. The U.S., still the world’s largest carbon polluter, is not a signer to Kyoto and has issued ultimatums that it won’t join any agreements unless fast-developing nations like China and India offer significant, transparent, carbon-cutting plans open to review.
But on Monday, China raised hopes saying it would limit its pollution under certain conditions, including greater technology sharing to promote faster answers to climate change. Chinese negotiators said their plan could operate under a Kyoto replacement, but that a binding legal agreement should wait until 2020.
“If China moves, we’ll be able to see the signing of the Kyoto Protocol, we’ll be able to get the rest of the world committed to a road map which gets us to a single legally binding overarching agreement, so China’s position is absolutely critical,” U.K. Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change told Bloomberg News in Durban.