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University of East Anglia research shows record high for global carbon emissions

Nature Climate Change; Nature Climate Change; Earth System Science Data Discussions; Nature Climate Change

Sun, 02 Dec 2012

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are set to rise again in 2012 reaching a record high of 35.6 billion tonnes - according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project co-led by researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Rural factory billowing smoke

The 2.6 per cent rise projected for 2012 means global emissions from burning fossil fuel are 58 per cent above 1990 levels the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol.

This latest analysis by the Global Carbon Project is published today in the journal Nature Climate Change with full data released simultaneously by the journal Earth System Science Data Discussions.

It shows the biggest contributors to global emissions in 2011 were China (28 per cent) the United States (16 per cent) the European Union (11 per cent) and India (7 per cent).

Emissions in China and India grew by 9.9 and 7.5 per cent in 2011 while those of the United States and the European Union decreased by 1.8 and 2.8 per cent.

Emissions per person in China of 6.6 tonnes of CO2 were nearly as high as those of the European Union (7.3) but still below the 17.2 tonnes of carbon used in the United States. Emissions in India were lower at 1.8 tonnes of carbon per person.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor at UEA led the publication of the data. She said: "These latest figures come amidst climate talks in Doha. But with emissions continuing to grow it‟s as if no-one is listening to the entire scientific community.”