A new scientific paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), claims that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing faster than expected. The study entitled ‘Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions’ is co-authored by Josep G. Canadell of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).
The paper’s abstract says:
CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning and industrial processes have been accelerating at a global scale, with their growth rate increasing from 1.1% y–1 for 1990–1999 to >3% y–1 for 2000–2004. The emissions growth rate since 2000 was greater than for the most fossil-fuel intensive of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions scenarios developed in the late 1990s. Global emissions growth since 2000 was driven by a cessation or reversal of earlier declining trends in the energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) (energy/GDP) and the carbon intensity of energy (emissions/energy), coupled with continuing increases in population and per-capita GDP. Nearly constant or slightly increasing trends in the carbon intensity of energy have been recently observed in both developed and developing regions. No region is decarbonizing its energy supply. The growth rate in emissions is strongest in rapidly developing economies, particularly China. Together, the developing and least-developed economies (forming 80% of the world’s population) accounted for 73% of global emissions growth in 2004 but only 41% of global emissions and only 23% of global cumulative emissions since the mid-18th century. The results have implications for global equity.
‘Decline in uptake of carbon emissions confirmed’ was the headline for the CSIRO press release.
The award for the most hysterical reporting of the study’s findings goes to the Herald Sun with the headline ‘Air poison rise stuns analysts’
In the US, the Associated Press article had a more restrained headline: ‘Carbon Dioxide in Atmosphere Increasing’
In the UK, the BBC News website went with ‘Unexpected growth’ in CO2 found
Comparing 1990 with 2006 could be described as cherry-picking. Scientists who are sceptical about a man-made CO2 driven climate catastrophe have pointed out that rising CO2 emissions are not being matched by rises in the global average temperature. El Nino driven 1998 remains the warmest year on record. Ocean warming has also flat-lined during the past 5 years. Furthermore, as pointed out on this blog yesterday, the airborne fraction of man-made CO2 remains at about 55 per cent, suggesting that uptake by CO2 sinks has not diminished. It is also worth noting that global Methane emissions have actually declined.
H. L. Mencken’s hobgoblins are alive and well in Australia:
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”