Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise Quicker Than Expected as Coal Use Increases

Article excerpt

Byline: By Emily Beament

Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have grown 35% more quickly than expected since 2000 because of inefficiency in fossil fuel use and the weakening of natural "carbon sinks", scientists warned last night. Increasing use of coal-fired power stations and a lack of technological improvements has led to a 17% increase of CO2 above expected levels, researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) said.

There has also been a decrease in the ability of land and oceans to absorb carbon dioxide, with the decline in efficiency of these natural sinks adding to the increase in CO2 levels since 2000.

Over half the decline of the carbon sink efficiency is the result of intensifying winds in Antarctica's Southern Ocean disrupting the sea's ability to store carbon, the scientists from UEA, the British Antarctic Survey and the Global Carbon Project said.

The latest warning on rising CO2 levels, and its implications for climate change, is being published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

It comes just days after other researchers at UEA revealed that measurements of the north Atlantic from the mid-1990s to 2005 showed the level of CO2 in its waters reduced by about half over the decade. …