Record-Breaking CO2 Emissions Levels Put World on Track for Worst-Case Warming Scenarios


Image via Skeptical Science, with IEA data

You probably heard the news last week that carbon emissions reached an all-time high in 2010, beating out 2008 after the global recession forced industry to sputter out and idle a bit.

Mike noted in his good post on the news that this was even scarier because the International Energy Association "has estimated that 80% of projected emissions from the power sector in 2020 are already locked in, as they will come from power plants that are currently in place or under construction today." To get a sense of how bad this really is just take a gander at the chart above:It outlines how dramatic the trajectory of emissions is in correspondence to the IPCC projections. As you can see, we're pretty much in step with the worst-case projections -- and look to be on track to exceed them. What does all of this mean?

Bradford Plumer, writing at the Washington Post, sums it up aptly: "The takeaway message is that we're on pace for about 4°C of warming by 2100."

Barring major and decisive action from the global community (and it'd have to be led by the United States, whose politicians have their heads firmly planted in the sand on the issue) expect that trajectory to continue -- or worsen. It's looking increasingly likely that your grandson will be living in a much, much hotter world.

More on Global Carbon Emissions
Global CO2 Emissions Reach All Time High in 2010 After Recession
A New Take on the World's Carbon Footprint (Graphic)
Massive CO2 Savings in 2010 : Businesses, Individuals & Government

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