24 May 2012:
Carbon Emissions Reached
Record Levels in 2011, Report Says
Global carbon dioxide emissions reached record levels in 2011
, driven largely by a 9.3-percent increase in Chinese emissions, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). According to preliminary estimates, worldwide carbon emissions climbed to 31.6 gigatonnes in 2011, a 3.2-percent increase from 2010. India’s emissions rose by 8.7 percent, passing Russia to become the world’s fourth-biggest emitter (behind China, the U.S., and the European Union). Such increases offset a reduction in emissions in the EU and the U.S., where a sluggish economy and an increased shift from coal to natural gas contributed to a 1.7-percent decline in carbon emissions. “The new data provide further evidence that the door to a two degrees Celsius trajectory is about to close,” said Fatih Birol, IEA’s chief economist
, citing concerns among scientists that emissions must begin being significantly reduced by 2020 to prevent potentially destabilizing temperature increases of more than 2 degrees C. According to the report, the burning of coal accounted for 45 percent of total energy-related carbon emissions, followed by oil (35 percent) and natural gas (20 percent).
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