|Eintime Conversion for education and research 10-20-2007 @
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Study: Worldwide carbon dioxide emissions soar
By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
Warnings about global warming may have not been dire enough, according to a new climate study that describes a runaway-train acceleration of industrial carbon dioxide emissions.
Fueled by rapid growth in coal-reliant China, rates of carbon dioxide emission from industrial sources increased from 2000 to 2004 "at a rate that is over three times the rate during the 1990s," according to report scheduled for publication in the journal Proceedingsof the National Academy of Sciences.
Carbon dioxide, released when coal, oil and natural gas burn, is a major greenhouse gas, so named because it absorbs heat in the atmosphere.
"Basically what happened is we have had rapid economic growth worldwide powered on traditional carbon-emitting sources," says study author Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, Calif.
The study compared Energy Department carbon dioxide emissions numbers with economic growth figures from the International Monetary Fund and United Nations. The figures show that carbon intensity, roughly the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to produce something in an economy, dropped worldwide after 1980. It shot up after 2000 in high-growth, coal-reliant China and stalled elsewhere.
"The report is saying that if you wonder what side of global warming's effects droughts, warming and others we are going to get a little or a lot we are going to get a lot," says Angela Anderson of the National Environmental Trust, an advocacy and research group in Washington.
In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forecast a 7.2-degree rise in global surface temperatures by 2100 if the world pursues economic growth highly reliant on fossil fuels, producing more severe drought, floods and heat waves. The real-world carbon dioxide emissions rate reported in the Carnegie study exceeds the panel's projection of emissions.
The world's economies are using more energy, and "no region is decarbonising its energy supply," says the study, despite U.S. moves for voluntary emission decreases.
"This should serve as a notice to the global community that renewed and stronger efforts are necessary," says Robert Andres of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory.
The results show the world is burning more coal than ever.
"Coal is abundant and cheap, but much dirtier than other fossil fuels," Field says.
Global carbon dioxide emissions add up (In million metric tons)
North America 5,439.17 6,886.88
Central America, South America 623.36 1,041.45
Europe 4,657.92 4,653.43
Eurasia 3,027.53 2,550.75
Middle East 494.75 1,319.70
Africa 534.47 986.55
Asia, Australia 3,556.07 9,604.81
Total 18,333.26 27,043.57
Source:U.S. Department of Energy
(Original Len: 3683 Condensed Len: 3387)
10-20-2007 @ 07:24:19