Carbon emissions increasing faster than expected, says new study

Remember climate change? It’s still happening — and faster than expected. From 2000 to 2004, global carbon dioxide emissions leapt from an average 1.1 percent annual growth rate to more than 3 percent annual growth, according to a new report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That means the globe’s inhabitants spewed nearly 8 billion tons of carbon in 2005, up from 6 billion tons in 1995. “We’re burning more carbon per dollar of wealth created,” says lead author Mike Raupach, blaming the trend on intensive industrialization in developing countries like China, as well as a leveling off of energy efficiency in developed countries such as the U.S. and Australia. Emissions are accelerating at a rate eerily close to the worst-case-scenario projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicted a consequence of a 7.2-degree surface-temperature rise by 2100. Good luck next time, Earthlings!