Carbon up, and not going away

From the department of bad news: global carbon dioxide emissions are speeding up, and one of the world’s largest natural carbon-absorbing sinks, the ocean to the south of New Zealand, is showing signs of becoming saturated.

The news on emissions comes from Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions by CSIRO scientist Mike Raupach (et al) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (abstract, full text). During the 1990s, emissions were increasing at 1.3% per year, but from 2000 to 2004, that increased to 3.1% per year. Raupach says:

“Nearly eight billion tonnes of carbon were emitted globally into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide in 2005, compared with just six billion tonnes in 1995. A major driver of the accelerating growth rate in emissions is that, globally, we’re burning more carbon per dollar of wealth created. In the last few years, the global usage of fossil fuels has actually become less efficient. This adds to pressures from increasing population and wealth.

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