Home > climate change, Earth science > Global Carbon Project report: worldwide carbon dioxide emissions up 2.3% in 2013, 61 percent since 1990

Global Carbon Project report: worldwide carbon dioxide emissions up 2.3% in 2013, 61 percent since 1990

A new report indicates that carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere continued to rise in 2013, reaching a record level of concentration.

Discharges of the most common greenhouse gas grew by 2.3 percent worldwide last year, with China and India exhibiting the largest year-over-year increase. The report concluded that planetary carbon dioxide emissions have now risen 61 percent since 1990, the base year for the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Given the trend, emissions will likely reach a record 40 billion metric tons this year.

Photo copyright Martin Muransky, courtesy Shutterstock

Photo copyright Martin Muransky, courtesy Shutterstock

“We are nowhere near the commitments necessary to stay below two degrees C[elsius] of climate change, a level that will be already challenging to manage for most countries around the world, even for rich nations,” Dr. Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain, said. “Politicians meeting in New York need to think very carefully about their diminishing choices exposed by climate science.”

China and India, which have maintained a national commitment to reliance on coal as a primary source of electricity, saw carbon dioxide emission increases of 4.2 percent and 5.1 percent last year, while emissions of the heat-trapping gas rose by 2.9 percent in the United States after falling for several years.

Emissions in the European Union declined in 2013 by 1.8 percent.

The report, which was released by The Global Carbon Project, concludes that total future carbon dioxide emissions will need to be limited to 1,200 metric tons if an increase in average worldwide temperatures is to be limited to two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial revolution era level, as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“If we carry on at the current rate we will reach our limit in as little as 30 years’ time and that is without any continued growth in emission levels,” Dr. Pierre Friedlingstein, a professor of mathematics at the University of Exeter who specializes in the modeling of the planet’s climate system and the lead author of the report, said. “The implication of no immediate action is worryingly clear – either we take a collective responsibility to make a difference, and soon, or it will be too late.”
The report was published Sunday in Nature Geoscience.
It follows the release earlier in September of another report from the World Meteorological Organization that that found that the total concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached historically high levels.
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