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Intro: "The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has jumped by a record amount, according to the US department of energy, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. The figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago."

The output of greenhouse gases has jumped by the highest amount on record.(photo: Public domain)
The output of greenhouse gases has jumped by the highest amount on record.(photo: Public domain)

Greenhouse Gases Higher Than Worst Case Scenario

By Associated Press

04 November 11


he global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has jumped by a record amount, according to the US department of energy, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

The figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

"The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly, the co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The world pumped about 564m more tons (512m metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of 6%. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries, China, the US and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases.

It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate department of energy figures in the past.

Extra pollution in China and the US account for more than half the increase in emissions last year, Marland said.

"It's a big jump," said Tom Boden, the director of the energy department's Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Lab. "From an emissions standpoint, the global financial crisis seems to be over."

Boden said that in 2010 people were travelling, and manufacturing was back up worldwide, spurring the use of fossil fuels, the chief contributor of man-made climate change.

India and China are huge users of coal. Burning coal is the biggest carbon source worldwide and emissions from that jumped nearly 8% in 2010.

"The good news is that these economies are growing rapidly so everyone ought to be for that, right?" Reilly said. "Broader economic improvements in poor countries has been bringing living improvements to people. Doing it with increasing reliance on coal is imperiling the world."

In 2007, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its last large report on global warming, it used different scenarios for carbon dioxide pollution and said the rate of warming would be based on the rate of pollution. Boden said the latest figures put global emissions higher than the worst case projections from the climate panel. Those forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4-6.4 Celsius) by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees (4 Celsius).

Even though global warming sceptics have criticised the climate change panel as being too alarmist, scientists have generally found their predictions too conservative, Reilly said. He said his university worked on emissions scenarios, their likelihood, and what would happen. The IPCC's worst case scenario was only about in the middle of what MIT calculated are likely scenarios.

Chris Field of Stanford University, head of one of the IPCC's working groups, said the panel's emissions scenarios are intended to be more accurate in the long term and are less so in earlier years. He said the question now among scientists is whether the future is the panel's worst case scenario "or something more extreme".

"Really dismaying," Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University, said of the new figures. "We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren."

But Reilly and University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver found something good in recent emissions figures. The developed countries that ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol greenhouse gas limiting treaty have reduced their emissions overall since then and have achieved their goals of cutting emissions to about 8% below 1990 levels. The US did not ratify the agreement.

In 1990, developed countries produced about 60% of the world's greenhouse gases, now it's probably less than 50%, Reilly said.

"We really need to get the developing world because if we don't, the problem is going to be running away from us," Weaver said. "And the problem is pretty close from running away from us." your social media marketing partner


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+69 # Kayjay 2011-11-04 16:39
It looks like our small efforts to stem climate change are coming up short. Like the oft heard question at the local grocery..."pape r or plastic?" or newsprint recycling, or the huge carbon belching trucks which ply our neighborhoods picking up our recyclables. We have good intentions and hopes, but neighborly recycling won't save the world. Our woes can be traced again to corporate greed, where oil and chemical companies etc, all lobby for and benefit from the status quo. Worldwide our woes are traced again to the above, but also a desire by many countries to get their "turn" at living the uber consumptive lifestyle Americans have enjoyed for decades. We all need to consume LESS, and fight to force the US to sign the Kyoto Protocol....cor porate profits be damned!
+17 # Billy Bob 2011-11-04 20:43
The whole point of discussing "paper vs. plastic" has ALWAYS been a diversion from the real culprit.

You laid out the facts perfectly.
+17 # Billy Bob 2011-11-05 10:56
I can't think of a more clear picture of the struggle between the 1% and the 99% than the picture of our environmental future.

Occupy Wall Street is fighting for our side in a war for the future food supply. OWS is about the only chance civilization has left to deal with this problem at all.
+21 # mwd870 2011-11-04 17:07
This scenario was a known possibility as early as the late 60's. There must be a way to stop before it is too late.
+12 # RagingLiberal 2011-11-04 21:11
It already IS too late! One potential explanation for this jump is that we have passed the "tipping point" at which it is too late to reverse the system. But these Repukes will deny it's existence until we all have emphysema and sunburn!
+3 # soulsource 2011-11-05 10:44
with skin cancer
+5 # RagingLiberal 2011-11-04 21:13
It already IS too late! One explanation for this surprising increase is that the carbon processing system on our planet is already failing. Once we pass this "tipping poing", we cannot reverse the process!
+44 # Barbara K 2011-11-04 17:15
It is truly sad to see what kind of world we are leaving for our grandchildren, great-grandchil dren and those who follow them. Our Planet is sick, it's should be in intensive care, but we also have some idiots out there that can't get it and don't want to do anything to protect this planet we call home. The Republicans vote down everything, including saving our air and water. (yes, I watch the Senate and see how they vote) If we continue to destroy our Planet, where will we live?

+13 # Billy Bob 2011-11-05 06:46
The repuglicans you're refering to will live in heavily armed fortifications - like castles in the middle-ages. The rest of us (peasants) will suffer accordingly. They have a HUGE problem with the whole idea of "all men are created equal".

The people who are causing this will NOT suffer at all because of it. That's all that matters to them.
+2 # soulsource 2011-11-05 10:46
The police will be cut back, and will go from being police to being body guards for the rich and the corporate if the are going to have jobs. I wonder if they think about that.
+10 # Barbara K 2011-11-05 12:13
Assuming those thugs drink the same water and breathe the same air, they will be suffering too. I hope they suffer greatly. We tried to warn them, even marched in the streets to save the planet, but nobody is listening. Least of all, those who are causing the problems and making it possible for them to act so irresponsibly.

+9 # Billy Bob 2011-11-05 14:11
They won't be drinking the same water or breathing the same air.

If you want equity and justice you need to fight for it now. Don't expect the future to cause them to suffer with us. They won't. They've already made plans to deal with the tribulation they've unleashed on the rest of us.

Think of them as "raptured", unless we do something about it NOW.
-15 # handmjones 2011-11-05 14:48
Are you suggesting that the 1% are burning all the fossil fuel?
+17 # Billy Bob 2011-11-05 21:29
I'm suggesting that the 1% are the reason we are fighting multiple trillion dollar wars to secure oil rather than spendin a fraction of that at home to get off the oil habit altogether.

I'm suggesting the 1% are the ones profiting from the use of fossil fuel, and are very happy to keep it that way, at all costs.

I'm suggesting the 1% are doing every thing in their power to make sure fossil fuel will continue to be used until none of it is left, regardless of the consequences to the rest of us.
+11 # Billy Bob 2011-11-06 00:05
I'm also suggesting that the 1% own corporations that are burning fossil fuels willy-nilly without regard to any broader implications because they are going out of their way to ensure their profit margins won't be encumbered by "government regulation".
+30 # WarrenM 2011-11-04 17:38
Soon Obama will make some lame excuses for backing the XL Pipeline and the U.S. will continue down the road for MORE fossil fuels. So, the U.S. and China will continue to lead the way to creating EXTRA pollution.
+55 # midwegian 2011-11-04 17:56
"We have met the enemy and he is us."
(Walt Kelly)
+3 # seeuingoa 2011-11-04 18:26
It seems we have to the let the cockroaches and rats continue the life
on earth , we had our chance and we blew
What as mismanaged world !
+12 # MainStreetMentor 2011-11-04 18:51
The US and China are paving the way to a more rapid death of our children, grand-children and the planet itself. We’ve got to stop referring of this as “pollutants”, and begin referring of it as what it actually is: increments of death by asphyxiation. And … never forget it was the Karl Rove’s the Bill O’Reilly’s the Glen Becks, the Sean Hannity’s who continued to encourage this was all a hoax, because that was the Republicans stance on the issue. Why? Because to admit it would be to risk cutting profits for the mining and coal industries, who are BIG contributors to Republican campaigns. Never forget either, that the news networks that spewed forth those lies were closely associated with Rupert and James Murdoch.
+6 # seakat 2011-11-05 23:35
You forgot our best denier of all, the senator from Oklahoma, Inhofe.
+4 # Vardoz 2011-11-04 18:54
left unregulated the energy companies will destroy us and our Earth. Deregulation came just at the wrong time!
+7 # gaia 2011-11-04 19:00
Jim Hansen is right AGAIN! We have passed irreversible tipping points, and your best efforts are negligible against the gargantuan polluters, who buy legislators to endorse their profiteering and don't care about the world's peasantry. Smart people are beginning to decide to party, party, party. The public has been unable to elect responsible adults to office. We have actually believed the campaign drivel and must now bend over and take it. The cockroaches can't wait!
+12 # DPM 2011-11-04 19:06
The best way to get around the pollution problem is to become a Republican. Then, it all disappears. Poof! Voila!
+4 # Windman 2011-11-04 19:24
We must stop burning coal. A liquid thorium reactor was successfully operated for four years at Oak Ridge National Lab. Go to and see how this safer reactor can replace coal burning.
+5 # reiverpacific 2011-11-04 19:27
What galls me is that -OK, we can do it to ourselves- but we DON'T have the right to do it to other species in the great circle of life.
I mean, perhaps we'll 'morph into a gilled and carapaced new life form but I wonder if the greed and profit motive gene can be sluiced out of us, or if we really need to destroy ourselves to allow the rest of the planet to survive and flourish in a new age.
Some American Indian visions allow for the self-destructio n of the Wasicus and the re-birth of the peoples who live close to the planet's being. We could learn much from their creed that we must look at least seven generations beyond our own for wisdom and action in our own given time.
I just hope that it's not too late.
Yet the military of this country are the worst polluters on the planet, with all it's allied industries, cancerous residue and toxins dedicated to destroying everything in their paths, including ourselves.
Is there a power that can stand in the way of the current and heavily evolved collective, capitalist-driv en insanity?
+1 # Kootenay Coyote 2011-11-04 19:58
Reading between the lines: We’re wrecked.
+3 # Billy Bob 2011-11-05 14:14
Ever heard about how rats will survive anything we dish out?

Ever heard of a "cornered rat"? A cornered rat could be dangerous. It's no coincidence. We are not wrecked. We're capable of puting up a fight.
+14 # Billy Bob 2011-11-04 20:38
Sorry in advance for the language, but when the shit hits the fan - AND IT WILL.

All the talk in the world won't make it any more pleasant.

Our children already face a NASTY future. That's no longer in question.

Two philosophies will continue to compete:

1. conservative (i.e. take care of yourself and kill everyone else)

2. liberal (i.e. cooperate with others and try to get through this together)

The conservative approach is inherently violent and suicidal.

The liberal approach is the only approach that can possibly lead to the long-term survival of human civilization.

Liberals, however, are completely unprepared for the level of violence that will be directed toward them.

If society is to survive, and believe me, it's in ALL of our best interests that it does, liberals must start to plan for the necessary cooperation, while simultaneously planning to defend themselves.

+12 # Billy Bob 2011-11-04 20:39

THIS IS ABOUT OUR FOOD SUPPLY. Do we want to eat, or starve to death?

-We must elect grown-ups willing to face the facts and stop global warming, NOW.
-We must accept that it's too late to prevent global AND LOCAL catastrophe altogether.
-We must cooperate to secure food sources.
-We must learn to defend those food sources from the violent theft by the well-armed people who currently believe in the conservative worldview of "rugged indiviudalism".
+7 # Regina 2011-11-04 20:46
There are none more stupid than those who will not learn. Unfortunately these deniers have money and power and office, all greed and no brain. So they'll keep tainting us all the way to their banks. The only consolation is that they will also choke on the fumes they produce. The planet will deteriorate for all of us. That may be the only equality we attain, from here on. So Barbara K has the only possible positive response: "NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN."
+4 # readerz 2011-11-04 20:46
We are not being smart, either with fossil fuels, or nuclear fuels which create destroyed zones that will be too dangerous to live in many centuries from now. But while humans are spending all our time developing "software," and not developing more efficient housing with better heating and cooling, nature is adding to it. Humans cause most of it, but read about the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): it has 2 million people because of conflict; just a few years ago only 50,000. But conflict is caused by overpopulation (again human caused). Goma is between a volcano and a lake that is filled with... carbon dioxide from the great rift volcanoes. If one volcanic fissure under Lake Kivu opens, then the city, all 2 million, will die of CO2 suffocation within a couple minutes. But the concentration of population is definitely human-caused, and most pollution around the world is human-caused. Nuclear disasters (or just storage problems), fossil fuels, volcanoes close to cities, earthquakes, floods (since most cities are near sea-level), could destroy civilization.
+8 # TJclyde 2011-11-04 21:20
The enemy is definitely us!!!!How can we in the US be so stupid? We are supposed to be the better informed....we are not...we are the worst wasters....not giving a damn about the future...Mr.Pre sident, tell it like it is and scold and punish the energy wasters!! TJ (Mary Lou Morrison)
+5 # bobby t. 2011-11-04 22:16
if this was a novel it would get bad reviews as being too stupid. people wouldn't do such dumb stuff as that.
no? we not only have to fight for jobs, but for air! both parties have agreed to kill all of us. the time to act is now, before it is much too late. money from polluters will be the end of most of human kind. much ealier than the turn of the century. are we really so dumb that we are not scared out of our mind? are we all in denial?
+7 # futhark 2011-11-05 00:14
The world's human population just passed 7 billion. Question: how many kids do you have? If it's more than 2, then you are a part of the problem. Restraining human reproduction is probably the easiest and cheapest way of averting ecological catastrophe in the coming decades. Reproduce responsibly!
+3 # soulsource 2011-11-05 10:50
Teach your children that they have to stop 'growth' as defined by the corporations, the market and 'representative ' governments.

Teach them consensus decision-making , delegate driven democracies as in Chiapas, and compassion for the inheritors of the planet.

And kick ass.
+4 # Lute 2011-11-05 00:47
According to James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia Hypothesis, we are already past the tipping point. He predicts a culling of the human animal will begin this cnetury, with a final world population of some 600 million settled in the far northern and far southern latitudes on a drastically altered glove. Even if he is only half right, his books are truly a terrifying read.
+5 # head out the window 2011-11-05 06:25
It is too late, because humans wont do enough quick enough to make a difference. On top of that the oil industry and other big corporate producers will use all of their money to defend the current output literally til their last breath.
+1 # Okieangels 2011-11-05 08:46
Vote Green Party! We KNOW the repubs are worse than worthless, but why vote Dem when they're almost as bad? I've long felt I should always vote Dem out of a misguided sense of party loyalty. I'm voting my conscience from now on.
+8 # Lolanne 2011-11-05 09:16
And just this morning I read that the Repugnant Ones are pushing a vote on a bill in the Senate that will prohibit the EPA from enforcing the clean air rules we already have! I just don't get it. I mean, yes, I know it's all about money -- they're so locked in on protecting their greedy donors in the big, dirty energy industries that they will go to any lengths to stop regulations those idiots don't like. But don't any of them understand that they have to breathe the same air as the rest of us? Do you suppose they plan to install powerful air filters in their castles and just stay in them all the time? I just don't see how they can be so stupid as to work this hard despoiling the earth for EVERYBODY -- themselves, their children and grandchildren, as well as the rest of us and ours? I mean, nature is nature and air is air -- when it all turns too toxic for life, they will die just like the rest of us. WHY can't they see that?????
+4 # Lulie 2011-11-05 10:35
Lolanne -- They can't see that because they have the same mindset as the corporate managers who don't care if they bankrupt their own company, as long as they make their individual millions. It would seem that for some people, living large in the present makes it possible to completely ignore the future. I guess it's not that they CAN'T see that as much as they WON'T see it. The view is no doubt very different from the penthouse at the Four Seasons.
+2 # Lolanne 2011-11-05 12:43
Quoting Lulie:
Lolanne -- They can't see that because they have the same mindset as the corporate managers who don't care if they bankrupt their own company, as long as they make their individual millions. It would seem that for some people, living large in the present makes it possible to completely ignore the future. I guess it's not that they CAN'T see that as much as they WON'T see it. The view is no doubt very different from the penthouse at the Four Seasons.

Yeah, well, the view may be different but when they stick their heads out the window they are breathing the same air the rest of us are! That's what I don't get. Dirty, fouled air does not discriminate -- it's as bad for them as it is for us. It seems to be they have to be deaf, dumb, blind and STUPID not to understand that!
+3 # Billy Bob 2011-11-05 10:58
But the WON'T be breathing the same air. Seriously.
+3 # Rara Avis 2011-11-05 11:41
We've known for decades that using every single alternative energy source to the maximum and working hard on research and implementing green solutions as a first priority while we depend less and less on fossil fuels is mandatory but we still do not see any sense of urgency except to turn more desperately to fossil fuels with drilling in the Gulf and in Alaska and the tar sands project on the part of our so called leaders. All cars should be combination fossil fuel and electric ASAP with a change to green technologies entirely (since electric cars must use fossil fuels from power plants) as soon as that can come on line. Where is the urgency? The round-the-clock work to cut our carbon footprint and keep the economcy humming too?
+9 # Aware 2011-11-05 12:56
Ironically, the Repugs ARE actually doing their part to control greenhouse gases. Nothing lowers emissions more than a sick economy, and they really have been trying their best to keep it that way - so cut them some slack, people!!

The other comment I want to make is that at this point it's a race to see if we can destroy the planet before our energy resources run dry. We passed the peak of conventional oil in 2006, according to the IEA. We will pass the general fossil fuel peak (all sources together) in the next 3-4 years. If we had a half a brain we'd be pouring our resources into sustainable alternatives so as to avoid returning ourselves to pre-fossil fuel carrying capacity of the world, maybe 2 billion people, but instead it appears we would rather get there the hard way - use the fuels as fast as possible, ruin the environment, and continue increasing the population to make the inevitable crash all the more horrendous.

We are so screwed.....
-4 # handmjones 2011-11-05 15:05
1998 to 2011 the CO2 goes up more than expected and the temperature stays flat. Similar to 1940 to 1980 when the tempersture was flat and the CO2 up.
There is a correlation but it is slow. The oceans warm and absorb less CO2. There is a scheme to increase absorbtion in the sea. A Canadian promoter purchased a ship and was about to spread the nutrient that would increase phytoplanton in southern seas. The US threw him in jsil.
+2 # seakat 2011-11-05 23:41
If this is the same guy I read about, he was spreading iron, which is a pollutant, and it is illegal.
-3 # handmjones 2011-11-05 21:50
Couple of points of which you should be Aware.
With very low Energy Return On Energy Input on all 'Green Energy' it takes a great deal more energy to develop, thus if we replace all the present high EROEI sources with low return sources we must expend a lot of energy to accomplish this. My rough estimate is that converting in 20 years would involve 20% higher CO2 during that period.
Secondly, peak oil per person, which I think is the important measure, was reached in 1979
+4 # ABen 2011-11-05 18:55
Go as green as possible as soon as possible. Park your gas guzzler, turn off lights you don't need, and vote out any elected official who denies global warming!
-3 # easter planet 2011-11-05 23:41
The last final possible date for air travel was July 2006. The goal was to keep winter 2006/2007 emissions from rising above summer 2006 levels - forget about reducing to "x" percent below "x" year - just cut emissions so that the winter level does not rise above the previous summer, and go down from there. But "we" failed - are YOU in your car every day??? I have never been in an airplane and never will, those who have will pay the penalty.
0 # rollinshultz 2011-11-11 08:00
How obviously pro liberal are these posts. Any comments that even question GW are ganged upon with thumbs down, (go ahead press it you know you want to liberal fakes) therefore I must consider it an honor to receive them.

Many of you cry "Ohh we need more regulations to get that 1% of evil corporate moguls, yet you completely overlook how your God Obama has consistently given waivers and stimulus money to the 1% and supports them by appointing them to many top positions. You do not even recognize the conflict of interest when he appoints Goldman Sachs VPs to these positions. Do you think they will create or enforce regulations on themselves? Do you realize when Monsanto employees become directors of say the FDA, they create regs that make small companies burdened with excessive limitations, while getting the Monsantos a pass, so they can eliminate competition.

The government has already toppled with Bush and Obama's help to the 1% and there is only one way to fix it. We must vote for the planet with our consumer dollars. It is the only power we the people have left. If you believe CO2 is bad and GW is real then stop buying any imported goods. Don't buy anything that comes from miles away and is packaged in foam and plastic. Buy foods fresh from your local farmer's market. Refuse to buy anything that is produced by 1 per-centers.

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