Global Carbon Project: 2010

The Global Carbon Project has released its Carbon Budget 2010, an annual update of the global carbon budget and trends. The site is a treasure trove of information and resources for climate change instructors, including contemporaneous data on carbon dioxide emissions, sources, and breakdowns by region. Moreover, the site includes a Power Point presentation with a number of excellent slides for climate science lectures, as well as some informative videos and key data sets. Among the take-aways from the site’s Carbon Budget Highlights section:

  1. The annual growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations was 2.36ppm in 2010, with an average rate for the decade of 2000-2009 of 1.9ppm;
  2. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are now 389.6ppm, 39% above the concentration at the outset of the Industrial Revolution; this is also the highest concentration in the last 800,000 years;
  3. Carbon dioxide emissions attributable to deforestation and other land use changes were 0.9 PgC in 2010 (1 Pg = 1 billion tons); in one hopeful note, overall land use change related emissions are projected to have declined by 25% during the 1990, though this figure is highly speculative;
  4. Fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions increased by 5.9% in 2010, the highest annual rate in human history, and 49% above 1990 levels;
    • Coal was responsible for 52% of fossil fuel emissions, gas 23%, liquid 18%)
  5. China continued to have the highest emissions of any State, as well as the largest emissions increase in 2010, jumping 10% above 2009 levels; the USA saw its emissions increase 4.1%, India, 9.4%, the Russian Federation 5.8%, and even the EU registered an uptick of 2.2%;
  6. Emissions associated with consumption of goods and services increased 4.9%, with the share of such emissions produced in emerging economies and developing countries that are consumed in developed countries increasing from 2.5% of the share of developed countries in 1990 to 16% in 2010;
  7. Natural land and ocean carbon dioxide sinks removed 56% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions during the period of 1958-2010, in closely equal measures.

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