What is happening with carbon emissions is genuinely scary (and here we’re talking about the known risks, not the unknown risks). Here are the conclusions of the just-released Global Carbon Project report for 2007:
—Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are growing 4x faster since 2000 than during the previous decade, and above the worst-case emission scenario of the Intergvernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
–Less Developed Countries are now emitting more carbon than Developing Countries.
–The carbon intensity of the world’s economy is improving slower than previous decades.
–The efficiency of natural sinks has decreased by 5% over the last 50 years (and will continue to do so in the future), implying that the longer it takes to begin reducing emissions significantly, the larger the cuts neeed to stabilize atmospheric CO2.
–All these changes have led to an acceleration of atmospheric CO2 growth 33% faster since 2000 than in the previous two decades, implying a stronger climate forcing and sooner than expected.
The chart below puts these factors together for recent years. Note especially how the ocean is becoming less efficient as a carbon sink. That’s because the increasing velocity of winds in the Southern Ocean around Antartica is dampening the efficiency of carbon uptake — a factor attributed to global warming and the still-increasing hole in the ozone layer.