Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rising
PARIS (AFP) - Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) are rising annually by around 3 percent, placing Earth on track for warming that could breach 5 degrees Celsius (9.0 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, a new study published on Sunday said.
The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet's top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.
The figure - among the most alarming of the latest forecasts by climate scientists - is at least double the 2C (3.6F) target set by UN members struggling for a global deal on climate change.
In 2011, global carbon emissions were 54 percent above 1990 levels, according to the research, published in the journal Nature Climate Change by the Global Carbon Project consortium.
"We are on track for the highest emissions projections, which point to a rise in temperature of between 4C (7.2F) and 6C (10.8F) by the end of the century," said Corinne le Quere, a carbon specialist at the University of East Anglia, eastern England.
"The estimate is based on growth trends that seem likely to last," she said in a phone interview, pointing to the mounting consumption of coal by emerging giants.
Last year, all the world's nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to new international calculations on global emissions published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. That's about a billion tons more than the previous year.
The total amounts to more than 2.4 million pounds (1.1 million kilograms) of carbon dioxide released into the air every second.
Other research has warned of potentially catastrophic impacts from a temperature rise of this kind. …