2007-10-24

Tipping Point?

From the department of whatever-the-opposite- of-virtuous-cycle-is:
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000, says a study.

International scientists found that inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels increased levels of CO2 by 17%.

The other 18% came from a decline in the natural ability of land and oceans to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere.

About half of emissions from human activity are absorbed by natural "sinks" but the efficiency of these sinks has fallen, the study suggests.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was carried out by the Global Carbon Project, the University of East Anglia, UK, and the British Antarctic Survey.

It found that improvements in the carbon intensity of the global economy have stalled since 2000, leading to an unexpected jump in atmospheric CO2.

"In addition to the growth of global population and wealth, we now know that significant contributions to the growth of atmospheric CO2 arise from the slow-down of natural sinks and the halt to improvements in the carbon intensity of wealth production," said the study's lead author, Dr Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project.
Looks like our house will be beachfront property at some point.

2 comments:

Dave Lankshear said...

It found that improvements in the carbon intensity of the global economy have stalled since 2000, leading to an unexpected jump in atmospheric CO2.

Beware the term "carbon intensity". It's a strategy for ignoring the total Co2 emissions of a nation, and ignoring the real culprit: population growth. Carbon intensity refers to the amount of CO2 released per person. If the population rate is growing faster than carbon intensity is declining, then blowing some "carbon intensity" trumpet is deceitful and ultimately dangerous.

"In addition to the growth of global population and wealth, we now know that significant contributions to the growth of atmospheric CO2 arise from the slow-down of natural sinks and the halt to improvements in the carbon intensity of wealth production," said the study's lead author, Dr Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project.

Well, look at that, "Surprise — Surprise — Surprise"... they mentioned population after all.

One Salient Oversight said...

I actually watched one of your DVDs the other night - the one featuring the cute carbon atom being trapped for millions of years and then eventually being released into the atmosphere again. I think it was Catalyst.

It made me frightened.