'Unexpected growth' in CO2 found

Submitted by Charles Frost on Mon, 10/29/2007 - 19:49.

 CSIRO)
Inefficient use of fossil fuels has been singled out

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000, says a study.

International scientists found that inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels increased levels of CO2 by 17%.
The other 18% came from a decline in the natural ability of land and oceans to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere.
About half of emissions from human activity are absorbed by natural "sinks" but the efficiency of these sinks has fallen, the study suggests.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was carried out by the Global Carbon Project, the University of East Anglia, UK, and the British Antarctic Survey.

It found that improvements in the carbon intensity of the global economy have stalled since 2000, leading to an unexpected jump in atmospheric CO2.
"In addition to the growth of global population and wealth, we now know that significant contributions to the growth of atmospheric CO2 arise from the slow-down of natural sinks and the halt to improvements in the carbon intensity of wealth production," said the study's lead author, Dr Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project.
Global sink
The weakening of the Earth's ability to cope with greenhouse gases is thought to be a result of changing wind patterns over seas and droughts on land.
"The decline in global sink efficiency suggests that stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 is even more difficult to achieve than previously thought," said report co-author Dr Corinne Le Quere of the British Antarctic Survey.
"We found that nearly half of the decline in the efficiency of the ocean CO2 sink is due to the intensification of the winds in the Southern Ocean."
The declining power of the seas to soak up industrial pollution is not only being recorded in the southern hemisphere, however.
According to a separate 10-year study published recently, the effect is also being seen in the North Atlantic.

Momentum Building Against U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants

 

WorldChanging Team
October 27, 2007 4:25 AM

 

For the first time, a
U.S. government agency has cited carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for rejecting an air-quality permit to build coal-fired power plants. Roderick Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), explained his October 18 decision saying, "I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing."

 

The
Kansas decision follows an April U.S. Supreme Court ruling that greenhouse gases can be regulated as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. "There's still the threat that many of the 150 or so proposed new coal-fired power plants will be built in the
U.S.," notes Worldwatch senior researcher Janet Sawin. "But others are dropping off the drawing board as public opposition, lawsuits, resistance from local and state politicians, and uncertainty about future carbon prices encourage utilities and investors to consider other options." Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, and
Texas are among the states where plans for new coal-fired power plants have been blocked or scrapped.

 

Some Kansas leaders say Sunflower Electric Power's plans to build two 700-megawatt coal-fired power plants in
Holcomb, Kansas, are needed to provide jobs and energy to the region. The utility company says it will challenge the rejection of the permit. But Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius supports the KDHE's decision and promotes expanding the state's use of renewable energy sources, especially wind.
Kansas is ranked third in the country for wind energy potential, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

 

In its 2006 report American Energy, Worldwatch reports that renewable energy creates more jobs per unit of energy produced and per dollar spent than fossil fuel technologies. Some experts estimate that every 100 megawatts of wind capacity generates 200 construction jobs, 2 to 5 permanent jobs, and up to $1 million in local property tax revenue. If developed, the wind resources of Kansas, North Dakota, and
Texas alone are in principle large enough to meet all of the nation's current electricity needs, the report notes.

 

The two
Kansas coal-fired plants were projected to emit some 11 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, nearly as much as a group of eight northeastern states hopes to save in total by 2020 through a regional cap-and-trade program. Coal-fired power plants are responsible for 40 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and provide about half of
U.S. electricity generation, according to Reuters. Currently, coal generates an estimated 75 percent of the power used in
Kansas.

 

This story was written by Alana Herro for Eye on Earth (e2), a service of World Watch Magazine in partnership with the blue moon fund. e2 provides a unique perspective on current events, newly released studies, and important global trends.

From: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/007484.html