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Monday, May 21, 2007

Global Carbon Project releases first annual report

The Christian Science Monitor reports today that The Global Carbon Project has released its first annual effort to report on global CO2 trends and the results are disarming:

CO2 emissions from cars, factories, and power plants grew at an annual rate of 1.1 percent during the 1990s, according to the Global Carbon Project, which is a data clearinghouse set up in 2001 as a cooperative effort among UN-related groups and other scientific organizations. But from 2000 to 2004, CO2 emissions rates almost tripled to 3 percent a year – higher than any rate used in emissions scenarios for the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The analysis is the Global Carbon Project's first cut at an annual effort to report on trends in CO2 emissions and the factors contributing to them, says Christopher Field, a scientist with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "We're trying to figure out a small set of numbers that give people a clear picture" of what's happening, says Dr. Field, a member of the Global Carbon Project's science steering committee and a co-author of the analysis, which appears in Monday's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This official report echoes the initial findings announced last year at New Scientist.com, in particular, the significance of forging a path towards coordinated worldwide action:

The authors also highlight the importance of environmental inertia. This is the mechanism by which the environment stores up part of the energy of generated by greenhouse gas emissions, only releasing it to the atmosphere later on. As a result, even when human emissions do begin to drop, atmospheric carbon dioxide will continue to rise for up to a century. Global temperatures will continue to increase for two or more centuries.

"This report shows how important it is for all countries to work towards more ambitious climate targets within the next phase of international action beyond 2012," says Watson. He adds: "Action to persuade the US and large developing countries such as China and India to work towards such an agreement is particularly crucial. So is the acceleration of technological co-operation initiatives to help developing countries - particularly China - to move to a lower carbon development pathway."

Of particular interest is the graph in the Christian Science Monitor piece describing the break down of CO2 emissions by region, it's striking...but unlinkable, you'll have to visit for yourself; if that graph doesn't work for you...similar information, and more, can be found at Mongabay.com.

Given the above, the US posture leading into the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm is all the more newsworthy and unforgiveable.

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