December 5 News: Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded

Others stories below: For Solar Power, Some Breaks in the Clouds (Wall Street Journal!); Scientists confirm Himalayan glacial melting

Source: Global Carbon Project

Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery.

Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.

Climate Progress reported on a similar analysis last month (see “Biggest Jump Ever in Global Warming Pollution in 2010, Chinese CO2 Emissions Now Exceed U.S.’s By 50%“).  Here’s more on the new study:


The researchers said the high growth rate reflected a bounce-back from the 1.4 percent drop in emissions in 2009, the year the recession had its biggest impact.

They do not expect the extraordinary growth to persist, but do expect emissions to return to something closer to the 3 percent yearly growth of the last decade, still a worrisome figure that signifies little progress in limiting greenhouse gases. The growth rate in the 1990s was closer to 1 percent yearly.

The combustion of coal represented more than half of the growth in emissions, the report found.

In the United States, emissions dropped by a remarkable 7 percent in the recession year of 2009, but rose by just over 4 percent last year, the new analysis shows. This country is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, pumping 1.5 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere last year.

The United States was surpassed several years ago by China, where emissions grew 10.4 percent in 2010, with that country injecting 2.2 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions are usually measured by the weight of carbon they contain.

For Solar Power, Some Breaks in the Clouds (Wall Street Journal)

The collapse of Solyndra LLC in September sent shock waves throughout the solar industry, but the company’s spectacular flameout hasn’t completely scared investors away from the sector.

Thin-film solar panel maker HelioVolt Corp., a Solyndra competitor before the latter shut down, has collected a $50 million investment from South Korean conglomerate SK Group. The Asian connection could prove noteworthy—one of the reasons Solyndra and other solar manufacturers have caved is pressure from Chinese competitors that have benefited from lower production costs there.

Meanwhile, semiconductor-industry veteran Ashok Sinha’s solar manufacturing start-up, Sunpreme Ltd., recently raised $50 million in new funding. One lesson Mr. Sinha drew from Solyndra’s failure is not to take too much money too early. “We have to moderate our growth,” he says. “This is not the time to ask the investors, even if they were willing, for $500 million to set up a huge factory. We want to go a couple of steps and prove that we have a truly decisive cost advantage.”

In other recent solar funding,Firsthand Technology Value Fund has backed Skyline Solar Inc., a maker of solar systems. “It takes a little bit of faith, belief, courage, delusion—something like that—to invest in solar these days,” says Kevin Landis, portfolio manager at Firsthand. He says he believes that even as more bankruptcies will come in the solar industry, some companies will thrive….

Overall, clean-technology investments in the U.S. surged 73% in the most recent quarter from the third quarter of last year, to $1.1 billion, according to an Ernst & Young LLP analysis based on data from Dow Jones VentureSource. The number of deals increased 36% from a year earlier, to 76.

Scientists confirm Himalayan glacial melting

KATHMANDU — Glaciers in the Himalayas have shrunk by as much as a fifth in just 30 years, scientists have claimed in the first authoritative confirmation of the effects of climate change on the region.

The findings, published in three reports by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), show Nepal’s glaciers have shrunk by 21 percent and Bhutan’s by 22 percent over 30 years.

The reports, launched on Sunday at the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, form the most comprehensive ever assessment of the extent of Himalayan ice melting.

They follow a discredited announcement by scientists in 2007 that the region’s glaciers would be gone by 2035.

A three-year Sweden-funded research project led by ICIMOD showed 10 glaciers surveyed in the region all are shrinking, with a marked acceleration in loss of ice between 2002 and 2005.

Another study found a significant reduction in snow cover across the region in the last decade.

“These reports provide a new baseline and location-specific information for understanding climate change in one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world,” Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said.

“They substantially deepen our understanding of this region… while also pointing to the knowledge gaps yet to be filled and actions that must be taken to deal with the challenge of climate change.”

Scientists say the effects of climate change could be devastating, as the region provides food and energy for 1.3 billion people living in downstream river basins.

9 Responses to December 5 News: Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded

  1. Ryan says:

    I bet if someone really looked they could come up with a lot of do-nothing denier quotes in the last two decades that insisted the market would reduce carbon emissions on its own.

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    May We?

    I am concerned that we aren’t seeing more coverage, here on CP, like the following. May we?

    “Pablo Solon: Climate Negotiators Are ‘Committing Ecocide’”, a 6:39 video interview of Pablo Solon, former Bolivian ambassador to the U.N., from Durban (carried on, originally on OneWorld TV):

    “Obama Could Save the Durban Climate Talks with a Single Call”, by Joss Garman (published by the Independent/UK, and carried on

  3. John Tucker says:

    China has 37 cars for 1000 people India 18, with around 25 for much of the heavily populated world.

    The US has 828 per 1000.

    We are sitting on car CO2 bomb too.

  4. Colorado Bob says:

    Heavy Rains in South and Ohio Valley

    Outside of eastern Texas, soil conditions are very moist across much of this heavy rain corridor. Little Rock, Ark. is coming off its wettest November on record with more than 14 inches of rain last month. Rainfall in Paducah, Ky. during November was more than 5 inches above average.

    The latest rainfall is helping the Cincinnati area shatter the previous annual rainfall record set in 1991. So far, 67.52 inches have fallen in 2011.

    National Weather Service hydrologist Mike Callahan said Louisville on Monday broke the yearlong record of 64.6 inches of precipitation set in 2004. By noon Monday, Louisville had 64.77 inches of precipitation for the year.

    Callahan said the precipitation records date back to the 1880s. The precipitation includes melted snow as well as rain.

    Lexington is also nearing a record amount for the year.

    Callahan said as of noon Monday, Lexington had 62.8 inches. That’s less than 3 inches behind the record 65.76 inches in 1935.

    Read more:

  5. Michael T says:

    November Arctic Sea Ice Extent 3rd lowest in satellite record

    NSIDC Arctic & Antarctic Sea Ice report:

  6. Günther Rückl says:

    How come? What do you think is the driving force of record precipitation across parts of Kentucky and Tennessee? I am not a meteorologist but when you followed the southeastern weather systems on a near daily basis for the past several years you will have noticed that the moisture moving up from the Gulf moves further north dumping record amounts of rain in the northern South and central US. Alabama and, particularly, Georgia get very often bypassed. Look at the radar today (Dec 5, 2011):
    A classical example, plenty of precipitation north of Alabama and Georgia. The reason being, in my humble opinion: Due to the warmer temperature the moisture moves further north until it hits the cold front. While the northern South and central US get record amounts of rain, Georgia goes through extended draughts year after year.

  7. Steve Rankin says:

    I live in Southern Ontario, Canada. We have had 10 inches of rain in the past 8 days. This year is the wettest on record. Both Northern Ohio and Southern Michigan as well as Southern Ontario are experiencing in 2011 the wettest year on record.

  8. Steve Rankin says:

    Canada won’t budge on its rejection of the Kyoto Protocol – even to lure China into making its own binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, Environment Minister Peter Kent says.

    In a teleconference from Durban, Mr. Kent reiterated the Conservative government’s refusal to make a second commitment to Kyoto emission targets once the current period expires in 2012.

  9. Gail Zawacki says:

    from the Global Carbon Project:

    “The rates of atmospheric CO2 accumulation are influenced by both the anthropogenic emissions and the net uptake by natural sinks (ocean and land)…”

    “There is the possibility, however, that the fraction of all emissions remaining in the atmosphere has a positive trend due to changes in emissions growth rate and DECLINE IN THE EFFICIENCY OF NATURAL SINKS.” (emphasis added)

    A steep rise in CO2 is exactly what somebody who thinks the trees are dying due to tropospheric ozone would expect, and predict.