Global CO2 emissions rising unchecked

CO2 graph

Co2 emissions are set to reach a record level this year.

New record level expected in 2013, with U.S. still by far the largest per capita source of greenhouse gases

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Just in time for the Warsaw climate talks, climate trackers with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia said global carbon dioxide emissions are set to soar to a new record high of 36 billion tons in 2013 — 61 percent above the 1990 baseline levels set for the Kyoto Protocol.

“Governments meeting in Warsaw this week need to agree on how to reverse this trend. Emissions must fall substantially and rapidly if we are to limit global climate change to below two degrees. Additional emissions every year cause further warming and climate change,” said the Tyndall Centre’s Professor Corinne Le Quére, who led the global carbon budget report.

“Alongside the latest Carbon Budget is the launch of the Carbon Atlas, a new online platform showing the world’s biggest carbon emitters more clearly than ever before,” Le Quére said, explaining that China’s growing economy is driving the growth in greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Common species will also be lost with global warming

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Even common backyard plants and animals will be affected by global warming. Bob Berwyn photo.

New study projects percent of all plant species will lose half their climatic range

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Plenty of relatively rare plants and animals have already been flagged because of threats from global warming, but even common backyard plants and animals are likely to decline this century as their climatic ranges shift.

Plants — being sessile— reptiles and particularly amphibians are expected to be at highest risk. Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Amazonia and Australia would lose the most species of plants and animals. And a major loss of plant species is projected for North Africa, Central Asia and South-eastern Europe, according to new research from the University of East Anglia published May 12 in the journal Nature Climate Change. Continue reading

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

Report: UN climate talks are too big and unwieldy

Research recommends capping delegate numbers

October 2012 brought above average temperatures to most of the globe. Graphic courtesy NASA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Large delegations from rich countries and a cumbersome decision-making process are hindering progress at the United Nations’ annual climate talks, according to research published last week by University of East Anglia and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The report was timed to precede the 18th UN Climate Change Summit, which starts Nov. 26 in Doha, Qatar. The findings suggest that delegations from some countries have increased in size over the years, while others have decreased, limiting poor countries’ negotiating power and making their participation less effective.

“The UN must recognize that these antiquated structures serve to constrain rather than compel co-operation on international climate policy,” said Dr. Helke Schroeder, with the University of East Anglia’s School of International Development. “The time is long overdue for changes to institutions and structures that do not support decision-making and agreements.”

The researchers recommend that countries consider capping delegation numbers at a level that allows broad representation across government departments and sectors of society, while maintaining a manageable overall size. Continue reading

Climate researchers issue stern warning on natural gas

”  … It is the total quantity of CO2 from the energy system that matters to the climate.”

Shale gas deposits around the world. Map courtesy Energy Information Administration.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change have finally called the hoopla surrounding natural gas for what it is — mostly fossil fuel propaganda.

“The proponents of shale gas have always claimed that it is a lower carbon alternative to coal,” said Chris Shearlock, sustainable development manager at The Co-operative, an institutional investor in oil firms. “However, this is only true if the coal it displaces remains in the ground and isn’t just burnt elsewhere. Without a cap on global carbon emissions, shale gas is burnt in addition to other fossil fuels, increasing total emissions.”

The Tyndall report points out that, while U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have dropped by 8.6 percent since 2005, more than half of the recent emissions reductions in the power sector may be displaced overseas by the trade in coal. Continue reading

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