Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Worst ever carbon emissions in 2010

Reported on Sunday in the Guardian:
Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.

The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius – which scientists say is the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change" – is likely to be just "a nice Utopia", according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.

Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuel – a rise of 1.6Gt on 2009, according to estimates from the IEA regarded as the gold standard for emissions data.
I did a quick search to see if Peter Kent, our Environment Minister, had anything to say about that this week and couldn't find anything. I don't believe he's said anything about the other big environmental story of the week either, this one: "Canada leaves out rise in oilsands pollution from UN climate report." That has been picked up by the Guardian today: "Canada tries to hide Alberta tar sands carbon emissions." I wonder if the Environment Minister will be commenting at all on either of these stories. Maybe they'll be unavoidable for him at next week's UN Climate Change Conference. Assuming he's going.