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Record High Carbon Emissions Unlikely to Curb Global Warming, Study Says

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Dec 03, 2012 02:07 AM EST
Carbon emissions
(Photo : Reuters)

Emissions of carbon rose by 3 percent last year and will reach a record high in 2012, a new study revealed Sunday.

This suggests that it is highly unlikely to limit average global temperature rise under 3.6 degree Fahrenheit (2C), as agreed by world nations during a U.N. conference two years ago.

According to the study by Global Carbon Project, the total global emissions of carbon are estimated to be 35.6bn tons in 2012, a significant 2.6 percent rise since 2011 and 58 percent above 1990 levels, reported BBC.

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Human activities, like burning of fossil fuels, including coal and oil, are mainly contributing to the increase in global temperatures. Countries like China, the U.S. and India are the biggest polluters. China is the top carbon emitter, contributing to 28 percent of global carbon emissions in 2011. The U.S. follows China, emitting 16 percent of carbon and India is another big polluter, with 7 percent of global carbon emissions.

The new data suggests that emissions are slowly decreasing in some of the developed nations, including the U.S. But it has continued to grow in developing countries like China and India. According to 2011 figures, carbon emissions fell by 2 percent in the U.S. However, China's emissions grew 10 percent to 10 billion tons and India's emissions grew 7 percent to 2.5 billion tons, a report in The Associated Press said.

The data has been released at a time when the world nations have gathered for the U.N. climate change conference in Qatar, Doha, to deliberate and reach a new deal to fight climate change.

"These latest figures come amidst climate talks in Doha, but with emissions continuing to grow, it's as if no-one is listening to the scientific community," Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, UK, told BBC.

"I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory," Le Quere said, insisting on a radical plan.

Until now, no breakthrough has been achieved in the Doha climate talks. Developed countries like the U.S. have shown reluctance in pledging further emission cuts. There was also no major progress regarding the extension of the Kyoto protocol, an international treaty agreed to in 1997 which required developed countries to reduce carbon emissions by 5 percent, keeping the emission levels in the year 1990 as the baseline.

However, countries like India and China were not given any limits to reduce emissions. The U.S. did not ratify the treaty, saying it was unfair for developing countries to be left out without being given any limits. The protocol expires in 2012 and it still remains to be seen whether the world nations will achieve a consensus to start the protocol's second commitment period.

Apart from this, delegates will also be discussing about raising an annual financial support for developing nations to fight global warming.

The findings of the study are published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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