Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have continued to rise according to a new study led by the University of Exeter. Part of the annual carbon budget update by the Global Carbon Project, the study – which also involved the University of East Anglia – found that in 2009 CO2 emissions were only 1.3 percent below the record 2008, despite the global financial crisis having hit, leading some to theorize that 2009 would have been a better year.
However emerging economies like China and India went through a good economic period at the same time the industrialized nations hit the economic crisis, and therefore rebuffed any downturn in global carbon emissions.
“The 2009 drop in CO2 emissions is less than half that anticipated a year ago,” said Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, lead author of the research. “This is because the drop in world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was less than anticipated and the carbon intensity of world GDP, which is the amount of CO2 released per unit of GDP, improved by only 0.7 per cent in 2009 – well below its long-term average of 1.7% per year.”
One good piece of news that came out of the report, however, was the news that for the first time carbon emissions from deforestation decreased by over 25% since 2000 compared to that of the 1990’s. “For the first time, forest expansion in temperate latitudes has overcompensated deforestation emissions and caused a small net sink of CO2 outside the tropics”, says Professor Corinne Le Quéré, from the University of East Anglia and the British Antarctic Survey, and author of the study. “We could be seeing the first signs of net CO2 sequestration in the forest sector outside the tropics”, she adds.