Yesterday I posted about how the oceans are absorbing less CO2 than they were even a decade ago, and implied that this development may increase atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases. It has now been confirmed there is good evidence showing that atmospheric levels of CO2 are higher than expected.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen 35% faster than expected since 2000, says a study.
International scientists found that inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels increased levels of CO2 by 17%.
The other 18% came from a decline in the natural ability of land and oceans to soak up CO2 from the atmosphere.
About half of emissions from human activity are absorbed by natural “sinks” but the efficiency of these sinks has fallen, the study suggests.
We are producing more CO2 than the models expected and the earth may be warming faster than the models predicted. There are no longer any excuses for countries not to implement an effective plan to reduce absolute levels of CO2. Action is needed now.
UPDATE: CBC’s Quirks and Quarks recently interviewed Dr. Chris Field, Director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, who discussed the three main reasons why CO2 concentration have surged beyond expectations:
- Higher than predicted global economic activity
- Higher CO2 output per unity of economic activity (higher emissions intensity)
- The reduced ability ability for natural sunks, both on land and in the ocean, to absorb our carbon emissions
Dr. Field expressed concerns about the possibility that natural carbon sinks could possibly reverse and become carbon sources further exasperating the problem of climate change. He also echoed the view that the IPCC is by nature very conservative with it’s estimates.