Global Carbon Project released a study which shows that annual carbon dioxide emissions this year have risen by 2.5 % on 2013 levels, putting the total emitted this year on track for 40 billion tones. That compares with emissions of 32 billion tonnes in 2010.
According to The Guardian, the study results mean that the global ‘carbon budget’ – or the total governments can afford to emit without pushing temperatures higher than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels – is likely to be used up within just one generation, or in thirty years from now.
The Guardian quotes Dave Reay, Professor of Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh, who says, ‘If this were a bank statement it would say our credit is running out. We’ve already burned through two-thirds of our global carbon allowance and avoiding dangerous climate change now requires some very difficult choices.’
There was ‘a brief blip’ in global emissions growth at the time of the banking crisis, The Guardian says, but this was ‘quickly overtaken by an expansion in fossil fuel demand’.
The Global Carbon Project study notes that CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production grew by 2.3% between 2012 and 2013. It estimates, based on projections of World Gross Domestic Product and recent changes in the carbon intensity of the economy, that emissions from these sources will rise by a shocking 65 % compared on 1990 levels.
Europe was the only key region that registered a drop in emissions in 2013, according to Euractiv. According to the publication, ‘[Europe] released 11% less pollutants in the atmosphere than the prior year, thus modestly compensating for increases in other regions.’