Carbon emissions increasing, says new report


Climate change


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The amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is increasing at an accelerated rate, according to a new report by the Global Carbon Project.

The report, released simultaneously in Paris and Washington DC, found that CO2 emissions are growing four times faster in this decade than in the 1990s, despite international measures such as the Kyoto Protocol.

The findings of the Global Carbon Budget show that the 2007 concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 383 parts per million (ppm), the highest in the last 650,000 years.

Emissions from fossil fuels and land use reached almost 10 billions tonnes.

"This new update of the carbon budget shows the acceleration of both CO2 emissions and atmospheric accumulation are unprecedented and most astonishing during a decade of intense international developments to address climate change," said Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project who is based at the CSIRO in Canberra.

Carbon sinks - reservoirs that remove carbon from the atmosphere, e.g. oceans and plants - removed 54 per cent of CO2 emitted by human activities from 2000 to 2007, the report said.

"This new information on emission trends is now much more than a mere wake-up call. This is a 'get up and get moving - fast' call," said Professor Barry Brook, director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide.

"It's time to stop thinking of environmental changes as being 'somewhere out there', as primarily a threat to our economy, jobs and convenience. These changes are endangering the very systems, the life-support processes, that our health and survival depend upon. Their effects will increasingly disrupt social organization and political relations between countries and regions."