CO2 emissions to touch 35.6 bn tonnes in 2012
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are projected to rise by 2.6 percent by the end of 2012, reaching a record high of 35.6 billion tonnes, or 58 percent above 1990 levels, the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol, says a study.
The findings of Global Carbon Project (GCP), co-led by researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA), say the biggest contributors to global emissions in 2011 were China (28 percent), the US (16 percent), the European Union (11 percent), and India (seven percent), the journal Nature Climate Change reports.
Emissions in China and India grew by 9.9 and 7.5 percent, respectively, in 2011, while those of the US and the European Union decreased by 1.8 and 2.8 percent, respectively, according to a UEA statement.
Emissions per person in China of 6.6 tonne of CO2 were nearly as high as those of the European Union (7.3). But still below the 17.2 tonne of carbon used in the US. Emissions in India were lower at 1.8 tonne of carbon per person.
Corinne Le Quere, professor and director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor at UEA, said: "These latest figures come amidst climate talks in Doha. But with emissions continuing to grow, it's as if no-one is listening to the entire scientific community."
The 2012 rise further opens the gap between real-world emissions and those required to keep global warming below the international target of two degrees.
Lead author Glen Peters of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research, Norway, who led the study, said: "Scaling up similar energy transitions across more countries can kick-start global mitigation with low costs. To deepen and sustain these energy transitions in a broad range of countries requires aggressive policy drivers."
Emissions from deforestation and other land-use change added 10 percent to the emissions from burning fossil fuels. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere reached 391 parts per million (ppm) at the end of 2011.