2012 Rise In CO2 Levels Second-Highest In 54 Years

Bad news, everyone.

The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012,...

Scientists say the rise in CO2 reflects the world's economy revving up and burning more fossil fuels, especially in China.

Carbon dioxide levels jumped by 2.67 parts per million since 2011 to total just under 395 parts per million...

That's the second highest rise in carbon emissions since record-keeping began in 1959.

More coal-burning power plants, especially in the developing world, are the main reason emissions keep going up...

At the same time, plants and the world's oceans which normally absorb some carbon dioxide, last year took in less than they do on average, says John Reilly, co-director of Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Plant and ocean absorption of carbon varies naturally year to year.

Scientists track carbon pollution both by monitoring what comes out of factories and what winds up in the atmosphere. Both are rising at rates faster than worst-case scenarios that climate scientists used in their most recent international projections,... [emphasis mine]

Tags: CO2 rise

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Replies to This Discussion

New research suggests that Earth will warm more from CO2 than we thought, because the oceans will absorb less and less heat after a century. A two degree rise above pre-industrial levels will come from 750 billion tons of CO2, not from 1,000 billion tons.

Even If Emissions Stop, Carbon Dioxide Could Warm Earth for Centuries

After a century of cooling, the planet warmed by 0.37 degrees Celsius (0.66 Fahrenheit) during the next 400 years as the ocean absorbed less and less heat. While the resulting temperature spike seems slight, a little heat goes a long way here. Earth has warmed by only 0.85 degrees Celsius (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.

The lingering warming effect the researchers found, however, suggests that the 2-degree point may be reached with much less carbon, …

"If our results are correct, the total carbon emissions required to stay below 2 degrees of warming would have to be three-quarters of previous estimates, only 750 billion tons instead of 1,000 billion tons of carbon,"…

The researchers' work contradicts a scientific consensus that the global temperature would remain constant or decline if emissions were suddenly cut to zero. But previous research did not account for a gradual reduction in the oceans' ability to absorb heat from the atmosphere, particularly the polar oceans,… [emphasis mine]


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