Year 3, Month 6, Day 6: The Longest Moustache…

The Miami Herald runs an AP story from Neela Banerjee about our giant carbon-emission numbers:

WASHINGTON — Emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide reached an all-time high last year, further reducing the chances that the world could avoid a dangerous rise in global average temperature by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, the energy analysis group for the world’s most industrialized states.

Global emissions of carbon-dioxide, or CO2, from fossil-fuel combustion hit a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes in 2011, according to the IEA’s preliminary estimates, an increase of 1 Gt, or 3.2 percent from 2010.

The burning of coal accounted for 45 percent of total energy-related CO2 emissions in 2011, followed by oil (35 percent) and natural gas (20 percent).

According to the vast majority of climatologists, the rapid rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of industrialization over the last 150 years has led to an increase in global average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius.

Yay, us. Sent May 27:

Most world record attainments are occasions for pride. The fastest, the strongest, the furthest, the most powerful. But the news that 2011 set a record for global carbon emissions is no cause for celebration.

It’s not just that post-industrial humans have pumped more CO2 into the atmosphere than ever before, but that we’ve known for decades about the likely consequences of a runaway greenhouse effect — thereby making 2011’s accomplishment a world record for willful ignorance as well as destructive pollution.

The huge quantities of greenhouse gases we’ve set loose indicate not just our burgeoning fossil-fuel consumption, but of our inability to clean up the waste products of our profligate lifestyle. Another landmark achievement: whether it’s turning oil into disposable plastic containers, or burning gasoline in our idling vehicles, we’re number one when it comes to converting the Carboniferous era’s ancient sunlight into toxic trash. Notify the Guinness Book of Records!

Warren Senders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *