The temperature’s rising; can the big carbon-emitting countries take the heat?
In 2009, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in China — the world’s leading emitter — grew by nearly nine percent. At the same time, emissions in most industrial countries dropped, bringing global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use down from a high of 8.5 billion tons of carbon in 2008 to 8.4 billion tons in 2009. Yet this drop follows a decade of rapid growth: over the 10 previous years, global CO2 emissions rose by an average of 2.5 percent a year — nearly four times as fast as in the 1990s. Increasing temperatures and the resulting melting ice sheets and rising sea levels demonstrate the destructive effects of the carbon accumulating in the atmosphere.
Emissions in many wealthier countries fell in 2008 and 2009 as the global recession took hold. In the United States, CO2 emissions shrank by nearly 10 percent from 2007 to 2009, from a high of 1.58 billion tons of carbon to 1.43 billion tons, the lowest level since 1995. Emissions from oil, which is largely used for transportation, declined by nearly 11 percent, while those from coal, which is mainly burned to ... Read more