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Published: 2010

Climate Change Bulletin: Global emissions may set a record in 2010

Craig Macaulay

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions contributing to atmospheric warming may reach record levels in 2010, according to the Global Carbon Project (GCP).

In its annual report card published in Nature Geoscience in November, scientists working with the GCP reported that although annual emissions in 2009 were 1.3 per cent below the record 2008 figures due to the global financial crisis, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continued its upward trend to reach a new high of 387 parts per million.

The small 2009 decrease in global fossil fuel emissions includes large regional shifts, with large decreases occurring in Europe, Japan and North America (e.g. USA -6.9 per cent, UK -8.6 per cent, Germany -7 per cent, Japan -11.8 per cent, Russia -8.4 per cent) while emerging economies recorded substantial increases (e.g. China +8 per cent, India +6.2 per cent, South Korea +1.4 per cent). Australian emissions were slightly lower than those in 2008 (a change of -0.4 per cent).

A projected increase in economic growth will push global emissions up by more than 3 per cent in 2010.

More information

Friedlingstein et al. (2010). Update on CO2 emissions. Nature Geoscience 3, 811–812

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