Carbon Dioxide Emissions Around the World

According to Our World in Data, the global population emits about 34 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO₂) each year. Where does all this CO₂ come from? This graphic by Adam Symington maps out carbon emissions around the world, using 2018 data from the European Commission that tracks tonnes of CO₂ per 0.1-degree grid (roughly 11 square kilometers). This type of visualization allows us to clearly see not just population centers but flight paths, shipping lanes, and high-production areas. Let’s take a closer look at some of these concentrated (and brightly lit) regions on the map.

— source | Dec 2, 2022

Nullius in verba


Carbon Emissions Hit a New Record High

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are projected to increase 1% in 2022, hitting a new record of 37.5 billion tonnes, scientists announced today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. If the trend continues, humanity could pump enough CO2 into the atmosphere to warm Earth to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial temperatures in just nine years. The 2015 Paris climate agreement set this aspirational limit, seeking to avoid the most serious consequences for the planet.

“Nine years is not very long,” says Corinne Le Quéré, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, and a member of the Global Carbon Project, which conducted the analysis. There is clearly no sign of the kind of decrease that is needed to meet international goals, she says, and even with aggressive action, climate models

— source | Jeff Tollefson | Nov 14, 2022

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No sign of decrease in global CO2 emissions

Global carbon emissions in 2022 remain at record levels — with no sign of the decrease that is urgently needed to limit warming to 1.5°C, according to the Global Carbon Project science team. If current emissions levels persist, there is now a 50% chance that global warming of 1.5°C will be exceeded in nine years. The new report projects total global CO2 emissions of 40.6 billion tonnes (GtCO2) in 2022. This is fuelled by fossil CO2 emissions which are projected to rise 1.0% compared to 2021, reaching 36.6 GtCO2 — slightly above the 2019 pre-COVID-19 levels[1]. Emissions from land-use change (such as deforestation) are projected to be 3.9 GtCO2 in 2022.

Projected emissions from coal and oil are above their 2021 levels, with oil being the largest contributor to total emissions growth. The growth in oil emissions can be largely explained by the delayed rebound of international aviation following COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The 2022 picture among major emitters is mixed: emissions are projected to fall in China (0.9%) and the EU (0.8%), and increase in the USA (1.5%) and India (6%), with a 1.7% rise

— source University of Exeter | Nov 10, 2022

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UK university can reduce CO2 emissions by 4% with shorter winter semesters

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, reporting in the journal iScience on December 8, found that shifting learning weeks to the summer term and extending the winter vacation period can reduce the university’s yearly CO2 emissions by more than 4%. the team looked at heat and energy usage for the University of Edinburgh. starting a new semester on the second week of September, followed by a 12-week winter learning semester and a 5-week winter holiday, they could reduce CO2 emissions by 167 tonnes, 4.2% of the university’s total.

— source, | Dec 8, 2021

[this works on cold countries. we need the opposite.]

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The ramifications of ocean acidification for coralline algae

Scientists have long suspected that coralline algae are particularly sensitive to changes in ocean chemistry. Now, researchers have found that most species of coralline algae studied are negatively affected by ocean acidification.

In a new study published in Global Change Biology, an international team, including researchers from the University of Tsukuba, revealed that lower seawater pH is associated with decreases in the abundance, calcification rates, and recruitment of coralline algae. As levels of carbon dioxide increase in the atmosphere, larger amounts are absorbed by the oceans. The resulting changes in ocean chemistry spell trouble for calcifying species like corals and coralline algae.

Coralline algae are critical species in shallow marine ecosystems globally. By creating calcium carbonate skeletons, these algae act as “cement” for reef systems and provide new substrate for corals and other organisms to settle on. With ocean acidification, less carbonate is available to build these skeletons.

The effects of ocean acidification on different species of coralline algae have been studied for a number of years but the overall outlook for these species is unclear. The team reviewed all available studies on coralline algae and ocean acidification and used a variety of methods to tease out overall patterns.

— source University of Tsukuba | Nov 4, 2021

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COP26: A history of broken promises and shifting goalposts

Ever since the world agreed a fragile framework to tackle climate change in the 1990s, rich countries have been in denial about their responsibility for causing the problem, and what that means for how we deal with it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report into the science of climate change has generated much ado about it being yet another wake-up call for the Earth’s future. Coming just two months ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, there is some hope that governments will finally act to reverse the course of rising greenhouse gas emissions, including by phasing out fossil fuels, and address the grave impacts of climate change.

For those who have been following the UN process of successive COPs for some time, such expectations are viewed as wishful, mainly due to the recalcitrant conduct of developed countries. Their history at COPs is one of broken promises and shifting the goalposts from what has been agreed to, and reinterpreting agreements to suit their corporate vested agendas.

But before the developing world takes the bait, it is vital that we recall the broken promises and false solutions that detract from the real action needed now to limit

— source | Meena Raman | 16 Oct 2021

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Notes on Carbon Dioxide in Global Warming, Acidified Oceans, and Weathered Rocks

Like CO2 (carbon dioxide), H2O (water vapor) is a strongly heteropolar molecule — having one end with a positive electrical charge, and another end with a negative electrical charge — and absorbs outgoing Infrared Radiation (IR) from Earth’s surface, thus capturing heat in the atmosphere. Homopolar molecules like N2 (nitrogen) and O2 (oxygen) are transparent to IR. Inelastic molecular collisions redistribute that heat (as kinetic energy) to other atmospheric molecules (N2, O2, mainly) and atoms (Ar, He, trace components).

Most of Earth’s surface heat eventually diffuses into the oceans. Heat flows along the heat gradient in the negative direction from warmer air to colder water. The heat capacity (storage ability) of the oceans is IMMENSE (this is where ‘global warming’ ends up), and their heat content takes centuries to diffuse into a stable stratified distribution, rearranged by thermo-haline currents (a solar forcing effect) and by geometry (oceans as a spherical shell with warm equator and cold poles, so ocean heat diffuses poleward).

The fundamental problem of global warming is the ‘excess’ capture of outgoing IR (infrared radiation), reducing the rejection of Earth heat (originally delivered by incoming

— source | Manuel Garcia Jr | Sep 13, 2021

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Long-term consequences of CO2 emissions

The life of almost all animals in the ocean depends on the availability of oxygen, which is dissolved as a gas in seawater. However, the ocean has been continuously losing oxygen for several decades. In the last 50 years, the loss of oxygen accumulates globally to about 2% of the total inventory (regionally sometimes significantly more). The main reason for this is global warming, which leads to a decrease in the solubility of gases and thus also of oxygen, as well as to a slowdown in the ocean circulation and vertical mixing. A new study published today in the scientific journal Nature Communications shows that this process will continue for centuries, even if all CO2 emissions and thus warming at the Earth’s surface would be stopped immediately.

The long-term decrease in oxygen takes place primarily in deeper layers. this also has an impact on marine ecosystems. A so-called ‘metabolic index’, which measures the maximum possible activity of oxygen-breathing organisms, shows a widespread decline by up to 25%, especially in the deep sea (below 2000 metres). This is likely to lead to major shifts in this habitat, which was previously considered to be very stable, explains the oceanographer. These changes have already been initiated by our historical CO2 emissions and are now on their way to the deep ocean.

In the upper layers of the ocean, the model shows a much faster response to climate action. There, a further expansion of the relatively near-surface oxygen minimum zones can be stopped within a few years if the emissions were stopped. An ambitious climate policy can therefore help to prevent at least the near-surface ecosystems from being put under further pressure by a progressive decrease in oxygen.

— source Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) | Apr 16, 2021

Sucking CO2 from the Air Would Not Halt Effects of Global Warming

As nations repeatedly fail to make major cuts in their greenhouse gas production, scientists and others have begun to wonder if climate change might be halted not by emissions cuts but by technology that removes those gases from the atmosphere. The approach is called geoengineering. Unfortunately, a recent simulation of its effects on the oceans found that even extreme methods would not be able to completely rehabilitate the ocean environment. The work was published in Nature Climate Change on August 3. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

The experiments focused on carbon dioxide removal (CDR), the process of extracting excess CO2 directly from the atmosphere. In theory this could help oceans because they become dangerously acidic when they absorb too much atmospheric CO2. One CDR idea is to plant trees that consume large amounts of CO2 and then burn the trees in facilities where the emissions can be captured and stored underground. But no one has ever tested this or similar carbon removal schemes on a large scale.

The next-best thing to large-scale testing is a large-scale simulation. In the new study researchers led by Sabine Mathesius, an environmental scientist at the Potsdam Institute

— source | Maria Temming | Aug 12, 2015

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Three Americans create enough carbon emissions to kill one person

The analysis draws upon several public health studies to conclude that for every 4,434 metric tons of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere beyond the 2020 rate of emissions, one person globally will die prematurely from the increased temperature. This additional CO2 is equivalent to the current lifetime emissions of 3.5 Americans. Adding a further 4m metric tons above last year’s level, produced by the average US coal plant, will cost 904 lives worldwide by the end of the century, the research found. Air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels is also directly killing people, with a landmark Harvard University study published in February finding that more than 8 million globally are dying each year from the health effects of toxic air. While it takes just 3.5 Americans to create enough emissions in a lifetime to kill one person, it would take 25 Brazilians or 146 Nigerians to do the same, the paper found.

The social, or financial, cost of carbon has become a widely-used metric after its creation by economist William Nordhaus, who subsequently won a Nobel prize, in the 1990s. The measurement calculates the damage caused by a ton of emissions, factored with the ability to adapt to the changing climate. Under Nordhaus’ DICE model the 2020 social cost of carbon is $37 a metric ton but Bressler’s addition of the mortality cost brings this figure up to $258 a ton.

— source | 29 Jul 2021

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