ScienceDaily (Nov. 17, 2009) — The strongest evidence yet that the rise in atmospheric CO2 emissions continues to outstrip the ability of the world's natural 'sinks' to absorb carbon is published November 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience.
An international team of researchers under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project reports that over the last 50 years the average fraction of global CO2 emissions that remained in the atmosphere each year was around 43 per cent -- the rest was absorbed by the Earth's carbon sinks on land and in the oceans. During this time this fraction has likely increased from 40 per cent to 45 per cent, suggesting a decrease in the efficiency of the natural sinks. The team brings evidence that the sinks are responding to climate change and variability.
The scientists report a 29 per cent increase in global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel between 2000 and 2008 (the latest year for which figures are available), and that in spite of the global economic downturn emissions increased by 2 per cent during 2008. The use of coal as a fuel has now surpassed oil and developing countries now emit more greenhouse gases than developed countries -- with a quarter of their growth in emissions accounted for by increased trade with the West. . . .