Uh oh.

Seems all news coming from scientists these days relating to global warming is bad news, but this is particularly sobering:

Scientists warned last night that global warming will be “stronger than expected and sooner than expected”, after a new analysis showed carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere much faster than predicted. …

The study worsens even the gloomy predictions of this year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC, which shared the Nobel peace prize this month with Al Gore, said there were only eight years left to prevent the worst effects of global warming, by acting to curb emissions.

Dr Le Quere said: “We are emitting far more than anticipated when the IPCC scenarios were drawn up in the late 1990s.” Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning has risen by an average 2.9% each year since 2000. During the 1990s the annual rise was 0.7%.

Um, folks, that’s a four-fold increase.

The new study, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), says three processes have contributed to this increase: growth in the world economy, heavy use of coal in China, and a weakening of natural “sinks” – forests, seas and soils that absorb carbon. …

The overall growth of the economy is the only one of the three factors accounted for in scientists’ forecasts of climate change, which means the growth in atmospheric CO2 is about 35% larger than they expected. About half of this is down to the Chinese reliance on coal, which has forced up the carbon intensity of the overall world economy since 2000, reversing a trend of increasing energy efficiency since the 1970s.

Want to hear something really scary? However difficult politically and logistically, it’s possible to get China to shift from increasing coal reliance to renewable sources. What’s impossible is reversing the positive feedback loop that will take place when global temperatures rise, leading to the depletion of natural carbon sinks, leading to further temperature increases, and on and on…

Scientists assume about half of human carbon emissions are reabsorbed into the environment, but computer models predict increased temperatures will reduce this effect. The PNAS report is the most convincing evidence so far that the global sinks have weakened over the last 50 years…

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