2010 – A Record Year for CO2 Emission

Posted on June 1, 2011 by


Global energy-related CO2 emission reached an all time high in 2010, threatening the international goal to limit global warming to within 2⁰C. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 30.6 billion tonnes of emission was released in 2010 which was 5 per cent higher than in 2008, the previous record year.

Fatih Birol, an IEA chief economist said that the increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to the global goal of limiting future global rise in temperature to no more than 2⁰C.

Climate negotiators agreed in Cancun in December 2010 to restrict the future concentration of green house gasses in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million (PPM), but the world is already approaching the maximum annual emission levels to make this goal possible.

The IEA also agreed that if emission surpasses 32 billion tonnes then restricting the concentration of CO2 within 450 PPM would become difficult. “This means that over the next ten years, emissions must rise less in total than they did between 2009 and 2010,” said the agency.

International negotiations are yet to reach a follow up treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. With rich and poor countries all arguing that others are not doing enough, countries are making little progress in terms of agreeing to emission targets. Scientists say that a compromise amongst countries must be reached soon if runaway climate change is to be avoided.

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