It may be too late to cap global warming at 3.6
degrees, scientists allied with an Australian research
group say, as heat-trapping emissions hit a record
"An immediate, large and sustained global
mitigation effort" will need to begin if the
world has any hope of achieving a 2009 agreement
by nearly 200 nations to limit future temperature
increases to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees
Celsius, biologist and Global Carbon Project Executive
Director Josep Canadell said in a statement.
The 2009 agreement was reached at a U.N. Climate
Change Conference in Denmark commonly known as
the Copenhagen Summit.
Delegates starting a second week of negotiations
at a U.N. climate conference in Doha, Qatar, are
trying to find ways of reaching that target, but
so far report no success.
Canadell's remarks echoed those of State of the
World Forum President Jim Garrison, who told United
Press International ahead of a "climate leadership" conference
before Copenhagen, "If we don't completely
rethink and radically accelerate the plans to reverse
global warming, we will, in all likelihood, create
catastrophic climate change in our lifetime."
Overall global emissions jumped 3 percent in 2011
and are predicted to jump 2.6 percent this year,
researchers from the Global Carbon Project and
Britain's Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research
reported Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Their research data from the U.S., Australian,
British, French and Norwegian scientists were also
published in the journal Earth System Science Data
This year's projected 2.6 percent rise would mean
global fossil-fuel emissions are 58 percent higher
than 1990 levels, the baseline year used by the
United Nations' 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set
binding obligations on the industrialized countries
to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The protocol has been signed and ratified by 191
countries. The only country to have signed it but
not ratified it is the United States.
U.N. member states that did not ratify the protocol
are Afghanistan, Andorra and South Sudan. Canada
withdrew from the Protocol a year ago.
The average temperature of the Earth's surface
increased about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.8
degrees Celsius, over the past 100 years, with
about two-thirds of the increase occurring since
1980, the U.S. National Research Council reported
If emissions continue growing at an average annual
3.1 percent, as they have since 2000, the global
mean temperature is likely to rise more than 9
degrees Fahrenheit, or more 5 degrees Celsius,
by 2100, the Global Carbon Project-Tyndall Center
The study found 2011's biggest contributors to
global emissions were China at 28 percent, the
United States at 16 percent, the European Union
at 11 percent and India at 7 percent.
China's emissions increased 9.9 percent and India's
grew 7.5 percent, the study found, while U.S. and
EU emissions decreased 1.8 percent and 2.8 percent,
The U.S. decrease appears to be partly due to
economic weakness and transferring some manufacturing
to developing countries, The New York Times said.
The study, "The Challenge to Keep Global
Warming Below 2 Degrees Celsius," said carbon
dioxide emissions were slowed briefly around 2009
by the global financial crisis.
The U.S. decrease also appears to reflect conscious
U.S. states' efforts to limit emissions, as well
as a boom in the natural gas supply from induced
hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as hydrofracking
or simply fracking, the newspaper said.
Natural gas, which is mostly methane, is replacing
coal at many U.S. power stations, leading to lower
At the same time, coal usage is growing fastest
globally, with coal-related emissions leaping more
than 5 percent in 2011 from 2010, the study said.
Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel,
producing hundreds of millions of tons of solid
waste a year, including various types of ash and
sludge found to contain mercury, uranium, thorium,
arsenic and other heavy metals.