According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), carbon emissions worldwide rose to 30.6 gigatons in 2010, 5 percent higher than the previous record of 29.3 gigatons in 2008. This increase is attributed to the rebound from the recession in 2009 and was led by China and India.
There had been hopes that the global recession would have led to more efficient and lower emission energy use. But with news of 2010’s emissions levels, hopes seem to be dashed.
Report and analysis: 2010 was record year for greenhouse gas emissions [USA Today, 30 May 2011]
The increase raises doubts over whether planned curbs on greenhouse emissions will be achieved, IEA says. At a meeting last year in Cancun, Mexico, world leaders agreed that significant cuts were needed to limit the rise in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius more than in the pre industrial era. An increase in world temperature of more than 2 degrees Celsius can lead to melting of polar ice caps and other log rolling consequences.
Unwillingness to cut contribution to carbon emission was evident in Cancun where countries avoided setting new targets for curbing greenhouse gases. Japan, Russia and Canada said they don’t want to extend the 1997 Kyoto Protocol unless the two biggest emitters, China and the U.S., are brought into the pact.
Report & analysis: Global carbon emissions reach record, say IEA [BBC, 30 May 2011]
Coal was responsible for about 44 percent of estimated emissions in 2010, while oil contributed about 36 percent and gas 20 percent, the IEA said.
Germany's plan to shut all its nuclear power plants by 2022 will add up to 40 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually in the interim period as the country turns to fossil fuels, analysts said on Tuesday. Deutsche Bank analysts estimated an extra 370 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)
Report & analysis:
German nuclear cull to add 40million tons of CO2 per year emissions through 2020. [Reuters, 31 may 2011]
Global carbon emissions from power generation rise to record, IEA reports [Bloomberg, 30 May 2011]
To make matters worse in the European Union, the cost of emitting carbon is unlikely to become higher in the next few years due to the excess of carbon trading permits as a result of the 2009 recession. This also means that there is little pressure to lower carbon emissions, which spells trouble for the environment.