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No letup in carbon emissions, scientists warn

World mayors sign climate change pact
Mexico City (AFP) Nov 21, 2010 - Mayors from around the world signed a voluntary pact in Mexico City on Sunday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a meeting meant as a precursor to next week's s UN-sponsored talks in Cancun. The gathering in one of the world's most polluted cities assembled some 3,000 local and regional leaders to discuss a wide range of economic and social issues, including climate change. Participants from some 135 cities and urban areas signed a pact committing them to adopt a slate of measures to stem climate change. The pact will be presented at next week's UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico from November 29-December 10.

Top climate scientists from around the world hope in Cancun to break the deadlock on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and channeling aid to poor, vulnerable countries after the widely regarded failure of the last climate summit in Copenhagen. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, the current president of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), opened the mayoral gathering, set to last four days. "We have to tell the international community that it's in the cities that the battle to slow global warming will be won," Ebrard said in the lead-up to the meeting. Mexico last week promised to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions by around 14 percent. Meanwhile, a new study released on Sunday found that fossil-fuel gases edged back less than hoped in 2009, as falls in advanced economies were largely outweighed by rises in China and India.

Annual emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of oil, gas and coal were 30.8 billion tonnes, a retreat of only 1.3 percent in 2009 compared with 2008, a record year, they said in a letter to the journal Nature Geoscience. The global decrease was less than half that had been expected, because emerging giant economies were unaffected by the downturn that hit many large industrialized nations. In addition, they burned more coal, the biggest source of fossil-fuel carbon, while their economies struggled with a higher "carbon intensity," a measure of fuel-efficiency. Emissions of fossil-fuel gases in 2009 fell by 11.8 percent in Japan, by 6.9 percent in the United States, by 8.6 percent in Britain, by seven percent in Germany and by 8.4 percent in Russia, the paper said. In contrast, they rose by eight percent in China, the world's number one emitter of fossil-fuel CO2, which accounts for a whopping 24 percent of the total. China was followed by India, where emissions rose 6.2 percent and in South Korea, where they were up 1.4 percent.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Nov 21, 2010
Emissions of fossil-fuel gases that stoke climate change edged back less than hoped in 2009 as falls in advanced economies were largely outweighed by rises in China and India, scientists said Sunday.

For 2010, emissions are likely to resume their upward track, scaling a new peak, they warned.

Annual emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of oil, gas and coal were 30.8 billion tonnes, a retreat of only 1.3 percent in 2009 compared with 2008, a record year, they said in a letter to the journal Nature Geoscience.

The global decrease was less than half that had been expected, because emerging giant economies were unaffected by the downturn that hit many large industrialised nations.

In addition, they burned more coal, the biggest source of fossil-fuel carbon, while their economies struggled with a higher "carbon intensity," a measure of fuel-efficiency.

Emissions of fossil-fuel gases in 2009 fell by 11.8 percent in Japan, by 6.9 percent in the United States, by 8.6 percent in Britain, by seven percent in Germany and by 8.4 percent in Russia, the paper said.

In contrast, they rose by eight percent in China, by 6.2 percent in India and 1.4 percent in South Korea.

As a result, China strengthened its unenvied position as the world's No. 1 emitter of fossil-fuel CO2, accounting for a whopping 24 percent of the total.

The United States remained second, with 17 percent.

Fossil fuels account for 88 percent of all emissions from CO2, the principal "greenhouse gas" blamed for trapping the Sun's rays and causing global warming, the driver of potentially catastrophic changes to Earth's climate system.

Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere from all sources reached a record high of 387 parts per million (ppm), the study said.

"The 2009 drop in C02 emissions is less than half that anticipated a year ago," said Pierre Friedlingstein, a professor at the University of Exeter in Britain, which led the study.

"This is because the drop in world gross domestic product 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 percent in 2009 -- well below its long-term average of 1.7 percent."

There was one spot of good news, though.

CO2 emissions from deforestation fell sharply, thanks to slowing forest loss in tropical countries and to a pickup in reforestation in Europe, temperate zones of Asia and North America.

In the 1990s, emissions from deforestation were more than 25 percent of the global total. In 2009, though, they were only 12 percent.

Despite this, the news for 2010 is likely to be grim.

CO2 from fossil fuels is likely to increase by more than three percent if predictions of 4.8 percent in world economic growth are right. This means the fall seen in 2009 will have been just a blip as carbon pollution resumes its fast upward track.

The report by the Global Carbon Project, linking leading climate scientists around the world, was published in the run-up to the November 29-December 10 UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico.

The conference aims at breaking the deadlock on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and channelling aid to poor, vulnerable countries after the near-fiasco at the world climate summit in Copenhagen.




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Dire Messages About Global Warming Can Backfire
Berkeley CA (SPX) Nov 19, 2010
Dire or emotionally charged warnings about the consequences of global warming can backfire if presented too negatively, making people less amenable to reducing their carbon footprint, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley. "Our study indicates that the potentially devastating consequences of global warming threaten people's fundamental tendency to see the wo ... read more

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