The latest EPI release is on carbon emissions trends and the potential results.
by Amy Heinzerling
In 2009, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in China—the world’s leading emitter—grew by nearly 9 percent. At the same time, emissions in most industrial countries dropped, bringing global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use down from a high of 8.5 billion tons of carbon in 2008 to 8.4 billion tons in 2009. Yet this drop follows a decade of rapid growth: over the 10 previous years, global CO2 emissions rose by an average of 2.5 percent a year—nearly four times as fast as in the 1990s. Increasing temperatures and the resulting melting ice sheets and rising sea levels demonstrate the destructive effects of the carbon accumulating in the atmosphere.