CO2 Output Up, Reabsorption Down

“The world pumped up its pollution of the chief man-made global warming gas last year, setting a course that could push beyond leading scientists’ projected worst-case scenario, international researchers said Thursday.

The new numbers, called “scary” by some, were a surprise because scientists thought an economic downturn would slow energy use. Instead, carbon dioxide output jumped 3 percent from 2006 to 2007.

That’s an amount that exceeds the most dire outlook for emissions from burning coal and oil and related activities as projected by a Nobel Prize-winning group of international scientists in 2007.

Meanwhile, forests and oceans, which suck up carbon dioxide, are doing so at lower rates than in the 20th century, scientists said. If those trends continue, it puts the world on track for the highest predicted rises in temperature and sea level.”

CO2 Increases

Deforestation and CO2

This is a stunning figure:

Deforestation, during which carbon stored in trees is released into the atmosphere, now accounts for 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to scientists. And Indonesia releases more carbon dioxide through deforestation than any other country.

Lawsuits are ramping up to force airlines to reduce their contribution to C02 — which is 3%.

Major deforestation is taking place in Sumatra — and not by poor peasants trying to get a plot to farm.

In recent years, dozens of pulp and paper companies have descended on Riau, which is roughly the size of Switzerland, snatching up generous government concessions to log and establish palm oil plantations. …

The rate of this deforestation is rising as oil prices reach new highs, leading more industries to turn to biodiesel made from palm oil, which, in theory, is earth-friendly. But its use is causing more harm than good, environmental groups say, because companies slash and burn huge swaths of trees to make way for palm oil plantations.

Even more significant, the burning and drying of Riau’s carbon-rich peatlands, also to make way for palm oil plantations, releases about 1.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases a year, according to Greenpeace officials.

There are efforts to tackle the part of the problem due to illegal logging and some initiatives at instituting carbon-trading but with market pressure for palm-oil and paper/wood products is so high the prospects are not bright.

Global Warming and Deforestation

China and CO2

The news about Lawrence Livermore and the quest for new technologies (below) comes none too soon as the following report from China indicates.

A report released last week by Beijing authorities indicated that as its economy continues to expand at a red-hot pace, China is highly likely to overtake the United States this year or in 2008 as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

China to Take the Lead in CO2

Of course the western industrialized nations are almost wholly responsible for the state we are in so there isn’t much satisfaction in pointing fingers at the Chinese while yelling “you did it! You did it!”

A few headlines recently have played up China’s new drive to efficiency and resource savings. But there is less to them, it seems, than meets the eye.

China has grown by 10 percent or more in each of the past four years, becoming the world’s fourth-largest economy.

But it is also home to five of the world’s 10 most polluted cities; groundwater is tainted in nine out of 10 cities.

“We need to greatly improve the quality and efficiency of economic growth. We must attach greater importance to saving energy and resources, protecting the environment and using land intensively …” the premier said.

Yet Wen conspicuously made no mention of any drive to combat global warming, even though China is on course to overtake the United States as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases by 2009.

And while stressing a long-term commitment to cut energy use per unit of output, his speech omitted a numerical goal for 2007. China fell well short in 2006 of its target of a 4 percent cut.

China’s Wen Stresses Green Growth