Climate: Global CO2 emissions to hit record high in 2012

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U.S. still by far the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — As delegates to the COP 18 climate talks in Doha, Qatar struggle to find agreement on basic issues — like how to account accurately for greenhouse gas emissions — the Global Carbon Project is reporting that carbon dioxide emissions will climb by 2.6 percent in 2012 to reach a record high of 35.6 billion tons in 2012.

The biggest contributors to global emissions in 2011 were China (28 per cent), the United States (16 per cent), the European Union (11 per cent), and India (7 per cent). Overall, 2012 emissions are now 58 percent higher than in 1990, the baseline year for targets set under the Kyoto Protocol. Continue reading

Global warming: Report says permafrost carbon emissions must be included in global climate models and planning

A new report urges more monitoring of the Earth’s permafrost zones. Image courtesy NSIDC.

More monitoring of permafrost changes needed

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — With temperatures in polar regions rising twice as fast as the global average, there’s a good chance that between 30 to 85 percent of near-surface permafrost could melt, releasing billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere by the end of the century.

But most existing climate models don’t accurately account for the impact of permafrost carbon dioxide and methane emissions, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program. The report recommends that the IPCC compile a special assessment report on permafrost. It also recommends that nations with extensive permafrost create national monitoring networks and make plans to mitigate the risks of thawing permafrost. These nations include Russia, Canada, China, and the United States.

“The infrastructure we have now is not adequate to monitor future changes in permafrost,” said lead author Kevin Schaefer, a research scientist at the Boulder-based National Snow and Ice Data Center. “We need to greatly expand our current networks to monitor permafrost, which requires direct investment of money and resources by individual countries,” Schaefer said, urging the IPCC to assess the impact of permafrost carbon dioxide and methane emissions in the negotiation of emissions targets and global climate change policy discussions. Continue reading

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