Bid to curb global warming fails as carbon pollution up 3pc
Published 03/12/2012 | 05:00
THE amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3pc.
Scientists say it's now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal.
The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet's top 10 polluters, the US and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.
Last year, all the world's countries combined pumped nearly 38.2 billionn tonnes 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 in the journal 'Nature Climate Change'. That's a billion tons more than the previous year.
Because emissions of the key greenhouse gas have been rising steadily and most carbon stays in the air for a century, it is not just unlikely but "rather optimistic" to think that the world can limit future temperature increases to 2C, said the study's lead author, Glen Peters, at the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.
Three years ago, nearly 200 nations set the 2C temperature goal in a non-binding agreement. Negotiators now at a conference under way in Doha, Qatar, are trying to find ways to reach that target.
The only way, Dr Peters said, is to start reducing world emissions now and "throw everything we have at the problem".
Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist, said: "We are losing control of our ability to get a handle on the problem."
Meanwhile, UK energy secretary Ed Davey has admitted the world is losing the race against global warming.