CO2 emissions: Record levels expected for 2010

Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise despite the economic crisis

Emissions rise despite economic crisis © Danicek
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Global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide will probably reach record levels again in 2010 despite the recent economic crisis. This is now revealed in a Status Report of the Global Carbon Project published in Nature Geoscience. Accordingly, there are no signs of a global reduction in climate-damaging emissions, even though CO2 emissions from deforestation have declined significantly in recent years.

Every year, scientists from various universities and research institutes determine the status of global emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect and thus of the current climate change. This year's study, conducted by climatologists at the University of Exeter in England, reveals anything but hope for 2010:

1.9ppm increase in 2010

If economic growth and market recovery continues after the financial crisis as before, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels could increase by more than three percent in 2010 compared to the previous year. This would then again be achieved by 1.9 ppm CO2 increase in the atmosphere. For comparison, the long-term average of the last 25 years was still 1.5 ppm per year, the average of the years 2000 to 2008 already at 1.9 ppm - and rising.

Slump due to economic crisis weaker than expected

In the face of the global economic crisis, which led to industrial and commercial collapses in almost all countries in 2009, experts also expected a significant reduction in the amount of emissions emitted. At the end of the year, however, the figures for 2009 at 1.6 ppm were 1.3 percent below those of 2008, but were much lower than expected and expected a year earlier. The emissions in 2009 brought the CO2 concentration in the Earth's atmosphere to 387 ppm at the end of the year.

Emissions share of emerging markets continues to grow

The main reason for this is the rising share of emerging countries such as China or India in CO2 emissions: while CO2 emissions in the United Kingdom fell by around 8.6 percent compared to 2008, and similarly in the USA, Japan, France, Germany and most other developed nations, emissions are up 8 percent in China and 6.2 percent in India. 92 percent of the CO2 emissions from the burning of coal alone go back to China. display

"The reduction in CO2 emissions is less than half as strong as it was a year ago, " says Pierre Friedlingstein, a professor at the University of Exeter and head of the study. DieIn addition, the carbon intensity of the global economy, the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of Buttoninland product, improved by only 0.7 percent in 2009, far less than the long-term average of 1.7 percent a year . Here, too, the emerging economies with their strongly coal-dependent economies have a particularly strong impact.

Less CO2 emissions from deforestation

After all, the new study also brings positive news: global CO2 emissions from deforestation have fallen by more than 25 percent since the year 2000 compared to the decade of the 1990s. The largest share of this was due to falling emissions from deforestation and the slash-and-burn of tropical rainforests.

"For the first time, the expansion of forests at temperate latitudes has compensated for emissions through deforestation and even created a small net sink of CO2 outside the tropics, " Corinne explains Le Qu r, professor at the University of East Anglia and researcher at the British Antarctic Survey. "We should see the first signs of net sequestration of CO2 in the non-tropical forest sector."

(University of Exeter, Nov. 22, 2010 - NPO)