Our carbon footprint scars the earth more and more as years pass. So say the latest figures on the global carbon budget that have indicated that the speed of increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities has increased four-fold since 2000 than in the previous decade.
"This is a concerning trend in light of global efforts to curb emissions," said Global Carbon Project (GCP) Executive-Director, Dr Pep Canadell, a carbon specialist based at CSIRO in Canberra.
Releasing the 2007 data, Dr Canadell said emissions from the combustion of fossil fuel and land use change almost reached the mark of 10 billion tonnes of carbon in 2007.
Using research findings published last year in peer-reviewed journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature and Science, Dr Canadell said atmospheric carbon dioxide growth has been outstripping the growth of natural carbon dioxide sinks such as forests and oceans.
The new results were released simultaneously in Washington by Dr Canadell and in Paris by Dr Michael Raupach, GCP co-Chair and a CSIRO scientist.
Dr Raupach expressed concerns particularly about Australia, whose position remains unique as a developed country with rapidly growing emissions.
"Since 2000, Australian fossil-fuel emissions have grown by two per cent per year. For Australia to achieve a 2020 fossil-fuel emissions target 10 per cent lower than 2000 levels, the target referred to by Professor Garnaut this month, we would require a reduction in emissions from where they are now by 1.5 per cent per year," he said.
"Every year of continuing growth makes the future reduction requirement even steeper," he added.
The Global Carbon Project (GCP) is a joint international project on the global carbon cycle sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Research (IHDP), and the World Climate Research Program.