Global warming pollution increases
Sep 25, 2008 - Seth Borenstein -
The Associated Press
Worldwide man-made emissions of carbon
dioxide - the main gas that causes global warming
- jumped 3 percent last year, international scientists
That means the world is spewing more
carbon dioxide than the worst case scenario forecast
by a Nobel Prize-winning group of international scientists
in 2007. Scientists said if the trend does not stop,
it puts the world potentially on track for the highest
predicted rises in temperature and sea level.
The pollution leader was China, followed
by the United States, which past data show is the
leader in emissions per capita in carbon dioxide output.
And while several developed countries slightly cut
their CO2 output in 2007, the United States churned
Still, it was large increases in China,
India and other developing countries that spurred
the growth of carbon dioxide pollution to a record
high of 9.34 billion tons of carbon (8.47 billion
metric tons). Figures released by science agencies
in the United States, Great Britain and Australia
show that China's added emissions accounted for more
than half of the worldwide increase. China passed
the United States as the No. 1 carbon dioxide polluter
Emissions in the United States rose
nearly 2 percent in 2007, after declining the previous
year. The U.S. produced 1.75 billion tons of carbon
(1.58 billion metric tons).
Gregg Marland, a senior staff scientist
at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, said he was surprised at the results because
he thought world emissions would drop because of the
economic downturn. That didn't happen.
"If we're going to do something (about
reducing emissions), it's got to be different than
what we're doing," he said.
The emissions, which are based on data
from oil giant BP PLC and look at the burning of fossil
fuel and production of cement, show that China has
become the major driver of world trends. China emitted
2 billion tons of carbon (1.8 billion metric tons)
last year, up 7.5 percent from the previous year.
"We're shipping jobs ashore from the
U.S., but we're also shipping carbon dioxide emissions
with them," Marland said. "China is making fertilizer
and cement and steel and all of those are heavy energy-intensive
industries." Developing countries not asked to reduce
greenhouse gases by the 1997 Kyoto treaty - and China
and India are among them - now account for 53 percent
of carbon dioxide pollution.
Developing countries surpassed industrialized
ones in carbon dioxide emissions in 2005, a new analysis
of older figures shows.
India is in position to beat Russia
for the No. 3 carbon dioxide polluter behind the United
States, Marland said. Indonesia levels are increasing
Denmark's emissions dropped 8 percent.
The United Kingdom and Germany reduced carbon dioxide
pollution by 3 percent, while France and Australia
cut it by 2 percent.
What is "kind of scary" is that the
worldwide emissions growth is beyond the highest growth
in fossil fuel predicted just two years ago by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said Ben
Santer, an atmospheric scientist at the Lawrence Livermore
Under the panel's scenario then, temperatures
would increase by somewhere between 4 and 11 degrees
Fahrenheit (2.4 to 6.3 degrees Celsius) by the year
"We do have control over what happens
over the next several decades," Santer said. "This
illustrates the importance of exercising that control."