In a new report, an international consortium of scientists have painted a bleak picture of the Earth's future, by revealing that the annual rate of increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels has more than tripled in this decade, compared to the 1990s.
These CO2 emissions increased at a rate of 3.4 percent per year from 2000 to 2008, in contrast to 1 percent each year in the previous decade, noted scientists in the Global Carbon Project report.
AdvertisementThe team comprises some 30 researchers from around the world, including Scott C. Doney, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Richard A. Houghton, senior scientist and acting director of the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC).
Since 2000, the scientists documented an overall increase of 29 percent in global CO2 emissions.
They attributed the rise to increasing production and trade of manufactured products, particularly from emerging economies, the gradual shift from oil to coal and the planet's waning capacity to absorb CO2.
Doney led a team that developed ocean-model simulations for estimating the historical variations in air-sea CO2 fluxes.
"Over the last decade, CO2 emissions have continued to climb despite efforts to control emissions," Doney said.
"Preliminary evidence suggests that the land and ocean may be becoming less effective at removing CO2 from the atmosphere, which could accelerate future climate change," he added.
A key element of the report, according to Doney, was the work of Houghton, acting director of WHRC.
"He developed the estimates of carbon emissions from deforestation, a major source of human-driven carbon emissions," Doney said.
"Although the emissions of CO2 from deforestation accounted for only about 15 percent of total CO2 emissions over the period 2000-2008, reducing deforestation is one of the activities that could contribute significantly to stabilizing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere," Houghton said.
Negotiations at COP-15 in Copenhagen next month will take up this issue in earnest.
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