Study: Record Jump in Emissions in 2010

By Paul Riegler on 5 December 2011
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An analysis released by the Global Carbon Project showed that worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels jumped 5.9% in 2010, the largest absolute increase since the start of the Industrial Revolution and the greatest percentage increase since 2003.

The increase represents one half-billion extra tons of carbon released into the air.

In 2009, emissions actually dropped 1.4%. The decrease was attributed to the recessionary economic climate at the time.

Researchers who published the Carbon Budget 2010 said they expect carbon dioxide emissions to grow at a rate of 3% per year, a stark contrast with the 1% growth experienced in the 1990s.

China, which is the single largest source of carbon emissions, saw a 10% growth last year while the U.S., in the number two spot, saw a 4% growth.  The growth in the U.S. occurred despite a relatively large investment in programs designed to make energy systems greener and an increase in the number of energy-efficient cars such as hybrids and electric vehicles, not to mention diesels.

Other major contributors include the Russian Federation and the European Union.

In November of this year, new fuel economy standards were promulgated in the U.S. but there was no corresponding change in emissions regulations for vehicles.  The new standards will double current fuel efficiency requirements to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

The Global Carbon Project, founded in 2001, studies the rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and publishes research relating to the topic.