Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China Earth Science

Another Study Finds Earth's CO2 Emissions Have Flattened Over The Last Three Years (go.com) 201

An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press: Worldwide emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide have flattened out in the past three years, a new study showed Monday, raising hopes that the world is nearing a turning point in the fight against climate change. However, the authors of the study cautioned it's unclear whether the slowdown in CO2 emissions, mainly caused by declining coal use in China, is a permanent trend or a temporary blip...

The study, published in the journal Earth System Science Data, says global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry is projected to grow by just 0.2 percent this year. That would mean emissions have leveled off at about 36 billion metric tons in the past three years even though the world economy has expanded, suggesting the historical bonds between economic gains and emissions growth may have been severed. "This could be the turning point we have hoped for," said David Ray, a professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, who was not involved with the study. "To tackle climate change those bonds must be broken and here we have the first signs that they are at least starting to loosen."

Last week a study suggested earth's plant life is absorbing a greater percentage of global CO2 emissions -- although reductions in China could also be significant. According to the article, almost 30% of the world's carbon emissions come from China.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Another Study Finds Earth's CO2 Emissions Have Flattened Over The Last Three Years

Comments Filter:
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @04:37AM (#53279509) Homepage Journal

    That the rate increase is going down isn't good enough, alas. That means it's still increasing. We need a reversal, with less CO2 pumped out than what is absorbed, and we're nowhere near that yet.

    Still, it's a good first sign, but we're still getting worse, not better.

    • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @07:26AM (#53279881) Homepage
      Agree, but, for example, methane (MOO!) is a more potent greenhouse gas and (another poster has partially said it) we're pumping all kinds of random shit into the air all the time.

      So my feeling is that we need to 'clean up our act' very generally as a philosophy, rather than concentrate only on C02. And yes, cheap solar/wind is turning out to be very important. But we need car-free cities as well.
      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        While that may be so, methane was only 11% of the greenhouse gas composition in 2014, while CO2 was 81%.

        https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissio... [epa.gov]

      • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        Agree, but, for example, methane (MOO!) is a more potent greenhouse gas and (another poster has partially said it) we're pumping all kinds of random shit into the air all the time.

        So my feeling is that we need to 'clean up our act' very generally as a philosophy, rather than concentrate only on C02. And yes, cheap solar/wind is turning out to be very important. But we need car-free cities as well.

        Methane isn't as much of a concern as it has a relatively short atmospheric lifetime. CO2, on the other hand, sticks around for centuries.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Oh, it's reason to celebrate, because while we need a reversal, we need a reduction in the rate of increase too.

      It's not heat per se that's the issue, nor is it even change per se; it's the rate of change. Ideally we keep the rate of change low enough so that ecosystem distress is not widespread. There's always going to be some ecosystems in trouble and some doing fine, but it makes a difference whether you have a lot of them collapsing or just a few.

      Even if the rate of change is fast enough to produce wi

    • Much like fines given to ranchers for the gases produced by their cattle, we could fine the Koch bro's for their similar gases they produce, especially as they get older.
    • Eccoing parent; summary is misleading at best. The rate of CO2 increase has stopped increasing. In other words, the CO2 is increasing at the highest rate it ever has, it's just that now the second derivative is 0. That means it's a linear increase, not exponential. We need the overall slope of CO2 concentration vs time to become 0 or negative in order to mitigate the damaging effects of greenhouse effect.
    • Get California to spearhead a proposition to make volcanoes and wildfires caused by lightning strikes illegal. Surely that will reduce the production of greenhouse gasses.

      • Get California to spearhead a proposition to make volcanoes and wildfires caused by lightning strikes illegal. Surely that will reduce the production of greenhouse gasses.

        I assume you're being sarcastic, but in case you are actually serious, I will point out that volcanos put out somewhat less than 1% of the greenhouse gasses as the amount we create by burning fossil fuels.

    • The Keeling curve is going up steeper than ever. If these numbers are correct then positive feedbacks have taken over.

  • cost (Score:5, Informative)

    by dehachel12 ( 4766411 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @04:38AM (#53279511)
    A big factor is of course the cost of solar and wind, which are now already cheaper than coal and oil, even without subsidies.
    • A big factor is of course the cost of solar and wind, which are now already cheaper than coal and oil, even without subsidies

      Ultimately I think its this factor that will make the difference. Although sadly the Fukushima incident has shattered public faith in the best solution of the lot, Nuclear. At this stage I'm hoping for breakthroughs in Thorium, or Fusion if it is indeed possible. Both are easier to sell to a pesimistic public than uranium fusion (That thorium has no outputs that can be used in nuclear

      • >th in the best solution of the lot, Nuclear.
        Is it? It has always been touted as being very,very cheap, but it never was. And the reason is very simple: every nuclear power plant you build is one of a kind, which raises cost to build it immensely, while turbine and panels are coming of an assembly line.
        • Re:cost (Score:5, Insightful)

          by allcoolnameswheretak ( 1102727 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @05:31AM (#53279647)

          Is it? It has always been touted as being very,very cheap, but it never was.

          And I am sure the nuclear industry didn't factor in the long-term costs of how to store away the nuclear waste safely, for generations. Or the costs of dismantling a plant. Or of course the costs when something bad happens. 100 billion $ total cost of Fukushima disaster.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Actually Fukushima has nearly spent all the original estimate for clean-up, and has barely started on the hard stuff yet.

            Compensation costs are still to be determined, it's gone to court now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jack9 ( 11421 )

          > every nuclear power plant you build is one of a kind

          That's a United States problem. France uses a template. Bad policy tends to stick around, just like any statistical disaster...which leads me to my problem with nuclear power. It's set up and run by humans.

          Yes you can generate power very cheaply for a few decades, but it ruins the site for a couple hundred years. Long term, it doesn't work out either. Now, if there is an accident (over what time period, how many will there be?) you end up contaminatin

          • Yes you can generate power very cheaply for a few decades, but it ruins the site for a couple hundred years. Long term, it doesn't work out either. Now, if there is an accident (over what time period, how many will there be?) you end up contaminating more than just the site (fukishima, chernobyl).

            The first part would be worth it if not for the second part. If you knew with absolute certainty (ha!) that you would never have a problem with the reactor, and that it would absolutely last for x years producing y amount of power per year, and then the site would be useless for 200 years, that would probably be a pretty good tradeoff. We have lots of places we could put them. Sadly, it doesn't work that way... instead, it works just as you describe.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            No you dont " ruins the site for a couple hundred years" here is a list of dissmantled nuclear powerplants and as you can see it did NOT take 100+ years to release the sites https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_decommissioning

            as for accidents, chernobyl will never happen again, fukushima contaminated a very small area (yes small) and the contamination will be gone in 30-40 years.

            The fact is that nuclear power is magnitudes better than fosil fuels from a health point of view.

            se:http://www.nextbigfuture.c

            • And don't forget that burning fossil fuels releases a whole lot of radiation into the air.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

              And mercury.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

              And a whole lot of other undesirables apart from CO2.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

              • And don't forget that burning fossil fuels releases a whole lot of radiation into the air....

                That may be true, but the fossil fuel industry does not pay for it, whereas the nuclear industry does. Until there is some sort of cap-and-trade program, nuclear will not be economically attractive.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              It depends how you define "decommissioning". If you mean how long until the land can be put back to normal, general use then 100 years is only a little high. Current UK sites being decommissioned are looking at 90 years, and sites in Japan don't even bother to give a date. Do you have any examples in the US where the site has been returned to, say, farming or housing?

              With Fukushima, it's not just the area affected (several towns), unknowns. Essentially the government took on an unlimited liability cost that

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            French nuclear plants aren't all that great either. There is a template but each site is still unique, due to variations in geography. You need a source of water for cooling, for example, and no two rivers or shores are quite the same.

            The biggest issue though is that the French nuclear industry is costing France a fortune. It's been leeching off the government since it started, on promises of cheap and clean every that never materialized. That's why France has gone off it now. French nuclear companies are b

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by cbeaudry ( 706335 )

              All power plants, all over the world, have a strong history of incidents. Because they are major undertakings and they generate... POWER.

              The French incidents have had no fatalities and have been dealt with efficiently.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

              In fact, there are very few, historically, nuclear incidents with fatalities. Not so with ANY other power generating technologies, including solar and especially Wind.

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                Fatalities are not the measure of how serious energy production accidents are. That's just cherry picking the best metric for nuclear, and this isn't a game of Top Trumps.

        • Not as much as you would think, the westinghouse AP1000 [wikipedia.org] is eligable for Combined Construction and Operating License [wikipedia.org] which means no changes can be made to the design of a plant.

      • by idji ( 984038 )
        I love the idea of thorium, but I think ramped up solar along with battery storage will win the day, because it is installed and working in days, it can be done cheaply by individuals, has good payback in Australia and southern USA and within the next few years once it's cheaper in Boston and Berlin, it's ubiquitous. Since the panels will have come mostly from China anyway, they will by far overtake the West. They can generate solar in Southern China, the Tibetan Plateau as well as the Taklamakan desert and
      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        While I'm optimistic about the thorium fuel cycle, it won't be the best solution to our future energy needs. The best solution will be getting our energy from a mix of carbon neutral sources. Plus greater efficiency, of course.

        Every means of generating energy is going to have marginal costs that increase with scale, and that includes nuclear. Putting all our energy eggs in the nuclear basket has several undesirable consequences that are more manageable if nuclear is just a contributor. First there's the

      • Although sadly the Fukushima incident has shattered public faith in the best solution of the lot, Nuclear.

        I rather like this statement.

        I mean, if people get over the whole radiation possibly killing them and destroying their towns, cities, livelihood, etc., nuclear is a much better solution than solar or wind. Fucking whiny crybabies--"Oh, I've got cancer! Oh, the house I've lived in for the last 40 years is now a worthless hunk of radioactive real-estate! Oh, I lost my fishing business because all the fish are radioactive and nobody wants to eat radioactive fish!" I mean, c'mon! Take one for the team!

        Yeah

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by BlueStrat ( 756137 )

      A big LIE is of course the cost of solar and wind, which are now already cheaper than coal and oil, even without subsidies.

      FTFY

      If that were true that they were cheaper everyone would be figuratively storming the gates to use wind/solar, the wind/solar equipment makers couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves, and they'd be abandoning other generation means within a couple years because they'd make more money.

      That's not happening.

      Is wind/solar getting cheaper? Yes, of course. Is it more economical than other types? Not yet. I'm sure we'll get there, but "we ain't there yet".

      What higher prices for electricity and other forms of ene

      • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

        If that were true that they were cheaper everyone would be figuratively storming the gates to use wind/solar, the wind/solar equipment makers couldn't keep the stuff on the shelves, and they'd be abandoning other generation means within a couple years because they'd make more money.

        Well, no, that's not quite the case [wikipedia.org]. Onshore wind is already cheaper than coal, and photovoltaic solar energy is essentially pretty much at even when it comes to the costs of a more advanced/modern coal power.

        The reason the rush

        • [...] germany where the well-intentioned but shortsighted Green party has put a ban on new nuclear power plants and they're driving the existing ones down.

          The Green Party in Germany has never been in power. It has been the minority partner in a coalition with the Social Democratic Party for 7 years (1998 to 2005) - over ten years ago. The current exit from nuclear energy in Germany is due to a law supported CDU (conservatives), SPD, FDP (liberals) and Greens in 2001.

      • That sum is ONLY fair if you also factor in all the thousands of people who are indirectly harmed and killed to produce cheap fossil fuels. Forget climate change for a moment (which would only increase it), think of the respiratory illnesses that plague towns near coal mines and coal plants. Think of the thousands of kids dying from asthma attacks every day to keep it going.

        These are overwhelmingly poor people (richer people can afford to not live near coal mines and plants). Think of all the people killed

  • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @04:54AM (#53279561)

    http://www.climatecentral.org/... [climatecentral.org] contains the graph
    http://assets.climatecentral.o... [climatecentral.org]

    This shows the rise in the CO2 level in the atmosphere over the last 5 years.
    For over a year now, it's been over 400ppm, and the rise in 2015-16, over the same period the year before has been the largest this past year than any time in the last five years.

    • by locofungus ( 179280 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @05:08AM (#53279589)

      Tamino doesn't see evidence of a slowdown:

      https://tamino.wordpress.com/2... [wordpress.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      CO2 in the atmosphere, and the world's CO2 output over a year, isn't the same thing. They're correlated, but with a long delay (in the order of decades or longer IIRC). The atmosphere itself, oceans, forests etc all act like buffers. So if the world (read: mankind's) CO2 output would drop to 0 instantly, CO2 in the atmosphere will stay high for a long time no matter what. Adding more CO2 just makes the problem worse. So a more accurate way is saying that the rate at which we're making the problem worse, ha

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2016 @05:46AM (#53279679)

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/gr.html

    Last year broke the record with a growth rate over 3PPM / Year. Looking at this years monthly data, in 2016 we're on track to smash last year's record with somewhere around 3.5PPM / Year. Every year this decade has been at or above the average for previous decade. Rather than a levelling off, the data looks like continual growth.

    Confused as to how any report can be claiming a "levelling off". Mauna Loa is seen as the de-facto standard for global CO2 levels as it's in the middle of the pacific and therefore isolated from localised effects.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauna_Loa_Observatory

  • by Feral Nerd ( 3929873 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @06:11AM (#53279745)

    Another Study Finds Earth's CO2 Emissions Have Flattened Over The Last Three Years

    I just heard that President Elect by popular vote, Donald Trump has pledged to fix this problem so you can all breathe easier now. The president is hard at work assembling a crack task force from among the ranks of Big Oil and Big Coal to bring CO2 emissions growth back on track.

  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @06:22AM (#53279759)
    Mission accomplished!
  • by Zoxed ( 676559 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @08:07AM (#53280015) Homepage

    Note that the (near) flat line is only for fossil-fuel derived CO2: not all human produced CO2, and certainly not all Earth produced !!

  • almost 30% of the world's carbon emissions come from China.

    Nope.

    Human activity only accounts for a bit over 3% of the CO2 in the world.

    -jcr

    • We're talking about the *net CO2 increase*. Human activity is responsible for more than 100% of that.

      • We're talking about the *net CO2 increase*. Human activity is responsible for more than 100% of that.

        For sure, everybody know that magic fairies sort out the 801 Gigatons of CO2 from natural sources and puts them in a separate bin so Gaia's green goodness can digest it, but totally reject the 30 Gigatons of nasty anthropogenic CO2! [skepticalscience.com]

  • by RogueWarrior65 ( 678876 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @10:54AM (#53280869)

    Which is almost as dumb as knowing the rules of the American electoral process, which have been in place for literally centuries, and then complaining when they don't like the results.

  • Last week a study suggested earth's plant life is absorbing a greater percentage of global CO2 emissions -- although reductions in China could also be significant.

    That sentence seems to confuse two different phenomena. This story is about emissions - how much we emit. The previous story is about the airborne fraction - how much of what we emit stays in the atmosphere vs. being absorbed by plants or the ocean.

    The green line here shows the trend in atmospheric CO2: http://woodfortrees.org/plot/g... [woodfortrees.org]

  • This isn't what we want to hear. This greatly conflicts with our goal of radically forcing a change to touchy-feely types of energy and telling others what they have to do. Lets ignore it, just like we've ignored the likely-hood of the next coming ice age that global warming has been protecting us from.
  • There are some tires that need burning and I've been putting this off for years.

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

Working...