A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience states that global CO2 emissions have risen 29% since 2000 and 41% since 1990. Moreover, in spite of the global economic downturn, emissions still rose 2% globally in 2008, the most recent year of record. The increase in emissions is attributable to many factors, but most notably the increased emissions of developing nations. The graph indicates that whereas developed nations emissions have basically plateaued over the last 19 years, developing nations emissions have risen dramatically. Emissions from countries like China and India have more than doubled since 1990. To contextualize some of the growth of developing nations emissions, a quarter of developing nations emissions can be attributed to increased international trade. Whereas most of this new study reinforces suspicions that we all already had (namely, we haven’t done a darn thing to reduce emissions, so naturally they would rise), it also sheds light on a newly observed trend of the global carbon cycle. Terrestrial and oceanic carbon sinks are disappearing. 45 percent of the global carbon stocks are currently in our atmosphere – up from about 40 percent 50 years ago. This is probably the result of two factors:
- We are emitting more carbon, outpacing the land and ocean’s natural ability to absorb CO2
- We are destroying natural carbon sinks like trees, meaning that there are fewer places for atmospheric CO2 to go
This increased carbon load our atmosphere now bears is highly disturbing and indicative of the fact that we need to not only reduce emissions but preserve natural carbon sinks in order to avoid the most extreme effects of climate change. Take control of your climate. Offset your emissions today.