Tell your local climate change denier that the global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record. According to the U.S. Department of Energy calculations, this jump may indicate most countries do not see global warming as a threat.
The new figures for 2010 prove that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.
John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, said The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing.
The world pumped approximately 564 million more tons of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That’s an increase of 6%. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries—China, the United States and India—the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.
Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, helped calculate DoE figures in the past. He called this increase an unheard-of “monster.” He said extra pollution in China and the U.S. account for more than half the increase in emissions last year.
Tom Boden, Director of the DoE Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab, said It’s a big jump. From an emissions standpoint, the global financial crisis seems to be over. He noted traveling and manufacturing increased worldwide, spurring the use of fossil fuels.
Burning coal is the biggest carbon source worldwide: emissions from that substance jumped nearly 8% in 2010. India and China are huge users of coal.
Reilly said, The good news is that these economies are growing rapidly so everyone ought to be for that, right? Broader economic improvements in poor countries has been bringing living improvements to people. Doing it with increasing reliance on coal is imperiling the world.
In 2007, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its last large report on global warming, it used different scenarios for carbon dioxide pollution and said the rate of warming would be based on the rate of pollution. Boden said the latest figures put global emissions higher than the worst case projections from the climate panel. Those forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees.
Although global warming skeptics attacked the climate change panel as being too alarmist, scientists generally find their predictions too conservative, said Reilly. The IPCC’s worst case scenario was only about in the middle of what MIT calculated are likely scenarios.
Chris Field of Stanford University, head of one of the IPCC’s working groups, said the panel’s emissions scenarios are intended to be more accurate in the long term and are less so in earlier years. He said the question now among scientists is whether the future is the panel’s worst case scenario “or something more extreme.”
Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University said the new figures are “really dismaying. We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren.
But Reilly and University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver did note a positive finding in the latest emissions figures. Developed countries that ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas limiting treaty reduced their emissions overall since then and achieved their goals of cutting emissions to about 8% below 1990 levels.
The United States did not ratify the agreement.
Reilly said In 1990, developed countries produced about 60 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, now it’s probably less than 50 percent. We really need to get the developing world because if we don’t, the problem is going to be running away from us. And the problem is pretty close from running away from us.
Mad Mike’s America thanks AP.
Please read these statistics to a global climate denier and see what excuse s/he has this time.