The Global Carbon Project released its “Carbon Budget 2007” [PDF] today. The report shows a continuation of the grossly unsustainable growth rate in CO2 emissions since 2000, which is nearly four times the growth rate of the 1990s:

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As reported by AP:

… it was large increases in China, India and other developing countries that spurred the growth of carbon dioxide pollution [3%] to a record high of 9.34 billion tons of carbon (8.47 billion metric tons) …

Scientists were surprised and dismayed because the increase “exceeds the most dire outlook for emissions from burning coal and oil and related activities” projected by the IPCC and because the increase occurred despite rising fossil fuel prices:

“Things are happening very, very fast,” said Corinne Le Quere, professor of environmental sciences at the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey. “It’s scary.”

Gregg Marland, a senior staff scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said he was surprised at the results because he thought world emissions would drop because of the economic downturn. That didn’t happen.

Accelerating global carbon dioxide emissions inevitably translates into accelerating carbon dioxide concentrations. This is especially true because the carbon sinks are saturating:

Meanwhile, forests and oceans, which suck up carbon dioxide, are doing so at lower rates than in the 20th century, scientists said. If those trends continue, it puts the world on track for the highest predicted rises in temperature and sea level …

Nature can’t keep up with the carbon dioxide from man[F]rom 1955 to 2000, the forests and oceans absorbed about 57 percent of the excess carbon dioxide, but now it’s 54 percent.

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The time to act is yesterday.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.