Global Carbon Emissions Hit Record High in 2010

record high Global Carbon Emissions Hit Record High in 2010

After dipping with recession in 2009, global carbon dioxide (CO2) levels hit their highest mark ever in 2010, according to the InternationalEnergy Agency.

IEA estimates show CO2 emissions rose 5.9% to 30.6 billion tons in 2010–the highest single-year growth on record.

"It’s a very strong rebound in CO2 emissions, driven mainly by thenon-OECD countries," IEA Chief economist Fatih Birol told Reuters. 75%of the growth came from emerging economies such as China or India, hesaid.

However, emissions from power plants in the US also grew at a record pace in 2010, rising 5.56% compared to 2009.

Birol said yesterday emissions levels arenearing the threshhold set by UN nations in Cancun for limiting globalwarming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

A new IEA analysis of global power plants shows 80% of the electricitygeneration related emissions are already locked in for the year 2020.

"Every year we don’t have a (climate change) agreement, every year wedon’t give a clear signal to pave the way for renewable energies andother clean energy technologies, the room for maneuver to get to the2020 target shrinks," he said.

China Coal Imports Expected to Double by 2015

To make matters worse, industry executives said on Monday they expectChina to double its imports of coal over the next four years to meet its surging demand for power–despite the environmental costs. 

China currently imports about 90 million tons of coal each year. Butthat figure could rise to 200 million tons by 2015, to Neil Dhar,executive vice president of trading house Noble Group, said during theCoaltrans Asia conference.

China is the second largest importer of coal, following Japan, andIndia’s imports are growing swiftly, too–from 67 million tons in 2011to an estimated 100 million tons in 2015.

India To Launch Market-Based Scheme for Carbon Reductions

India is instituting an innovative market-based scheme in an effort to keep a lid on growing carbon emissions.

It is called Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT). The mandatory programsets benchmark efficiency levels for 563 big polluters, like powerplants and cement plants.

Business that use less energy can sell energy savingcertificates–called Escerts–to businesses that eclipse the mandatedmark. The market is expected to be worth about $16 billion in 2014 whentrading starts.

The number of Escerts granted to a company will depend on the amount ofenergy saved in a target year, thus creaing a strong (and immediate)incentive for energy efficiency. The program could be more effective inthe near term than the Eurpean Union’s emissions trading scheme, whichled to windfall profits in the early years from the giveaway ofemissions credits. 

The PAT program is in addition to India’s exisiting market for renewable energy certificates (REC) from wind, solar and biomass powerproduction. 

That market is growing rapidly. The latest sale of RECs in May included a total of more than 14,000 certificates, with a trading value of $4.6million. That up from a mere 260 certificates traded in April. 

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