A week before the UN Copenhagen climate summit, a disheartening new study conducted by scientists from University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, along with the University of East Anglia, shows that the world greenhouse gas emissions could reach record high in 2010, outranking the previous 2008 high.
The data supports the idea that as the world is recovering from the recession, gas emissions rates have started to rise again towards an uprising level. In 2009, global carbon dioxide emissions dropped about 1.3 percent as a result of the recession, less than half of the optimistic ratio it was predicted with by environmentalists.
It’s a very curious matter to study the carbon emission trend which is steadily going downwards in industrialized countries as a result of the recession and increased gas prices, but skyrocketing in developing countries which more or less cancel the efforts made. For example, United Kingdom emissions were 8.6 percent lower in 2009 than in 2008, with similar decreases in the United States (6.9 percent), Japan (11.8 percent), Germany (7 percent), Russia (8.4 percent) and most other industrialized nations. But China showed an 8-percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions, while India’s emissions increased 6.2 percent in 2009, and South Korea’s went up 1.4 percent.
The lead author of the paper, Pierre Friedlingstein, wrote that,
“The 2009 drop in CO2 emissions is less than half that anticipated a year ago. This is because the drop in world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was less than anticipated and the carbon intensity of world GDP, which is the amount of CO2 released per unit of GDP, improved by only 0.7 percent in 2009 — well below its long-term average of 1.7 percent per year.”
As such, if the current economic state will continue on its upward trend, a dramatic increase in fossil fuel use with respect to the previous few years will occur by more than three percent in 2010. That approaches the growth rates seen in the earlier part of the decade, and mirrors the recoveries from dips seen between 1997 and 1999 and between 1991 and 1992.