Sunday, June 03, 2007

Underreported story on CO2 emissions?

My good friend Michael Tobis is wondering why the main stream media didn't make a big deal out of a joint statement by multiple national scientific academies that we should move to a more sustainable energy system. This statement was targeted at the upcoming G8 summit which otherwise has gotten a lot of press in relation to the climate change topic.

I have an underreported story too: this article by Peter Spotts in the Christian Science Monitor covers a report by the Global Carbon Project, which was coincidentally published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that CO2 emissions rose dramatically in the first part of the 21st century:
CO2 emissions from cars, factories, and power plants grew at an annual rate of 1.1 percent during the 1990s, according to the Global Carbon Project, which is a data clearinghouse set up in 2001 as a cooperative effort among UN-related groups and other scientific organizations. But from 2000 to 2004, CO2 emissions rates almost tripled to 3 percent a year – higher than any rate used in emissions scenarios for the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

There's some discussion that maybe its a temporary effect created by leaving the 2000 recession and a spike in natural gas prices leading to more coal burning. On the other hand, maybe this is China showing up. I'm surprised this didn't get more press just for supporting the "blame China" people.

Another quote from this excellent article:
The Global Carbon Project study held two surprises for everyone involved, [Christopher] Field says. "The first was how big the change in emissions rates is between the 1990s and after 2000." The other: "The number on carbon intensity of the world economy is going up."

In other words, the warnings from the IPCC AR4, which were so powerful that cut off access to the main stream media by the denier camp, may now be both out of date and underestimating the problem.

I haven't seen original reporting anywhere else besides CSM.

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