22.11.2010: Greenhouse gases hit record highs

The world's greenhouse gas emissions have surged back to record levels, a year after recording a slight dip during the global financial crisis, a report from the CSIRO has shown.

"It's a little surprising for everyone, but we're basing our results on the incredible recovery that the International Monetary Fund is expecting from the global economy in 2010," said the report's lead researcher, Pep Canadell.

Scientists used the world's gross domestic product figures as an indicator of carbon dioxide emissions, saying rapid improvements in the global economy would mean a sharp rise in emissions.

Despite a slight contraction in GDP of 0.6 per cent in 2008 and 2009, the IMF is predicting that GDP will grow by 4.8 per cent. While many countries, such as the US and Japan, will continue to experience a decline in GDP, Dr Canadell said that countries like Australia would continue to enjoy strong growth.

"Even if this figure of 4.8 [per cent] declines slightly due to instability in the markets, basically what you are going to still see is emissions which will be larger than the highest recorded emissions in 2008," he said.

This year is also shaping up to be an exceptionally warm one, with the Bureau of Meteorology saying it could end up being the warmest on record.

"So far, from January to October, this year is the equal hottest on record with 1998," said Blair Trewin, a climatologist at the bureau's National Climate Centre. "We know that 2005 is also very, very close. So this year is very warm, but whether it comes in at first, second or third historically, we won't know for a few months."

Data released last week by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that last month the average temperatures across sea and land was 14.73 degrees, just over half a degree above the 20th-century average.

The CSIRO's research is part the Global Carbon Project, which for the past five years has been updating the global carbon budget, recording estimates of global carbon emissions and how much carbon is soaked up by forests.

Dr Canadell, who is also a scientific adviser to the government on climate change, said the report should send a clear message to both political parties, which are debating putting a price on carbon.

"The very aggressive, high-emission growth of fossil fuels that we have seen throughout the entire decade will continue into the future," Dr Canadell said.

"We should not be mistaken by the little blip we've seen in emissions from the global financial crisis. The pressure is on to develop the kinds of policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible."

Results of the Global Carbon Project are to be published today in the international science journal Nature Geoscience.

 

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

What's On

© Manly Environment Centre 2014 | Non profit web design by PB Web Development