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Report: CO2 emissions increased in 2008

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If you thought that the surge of green car innovations and the economic crisis would help to drive down emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane last year, then think again.

A preliminary analysis for NOAAs annual greenhouse gas index measured an additional 16.2billion tons for CO2 and 12.2million tons of methane in the atmosphere at the end of December 2008.

This means that for every million molecules of air, an additional 2.1 molecules of CO2 entered the atmosphere last year and stayed there – thats only a slight fall from the 2.2 parts per million increases in 2007.

The aim of environmentalists attempting to tackle climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point that they match levels that can be absorbed in the Earths eco-systems. The rise in methane levels is particularly worrying – it is the second consecutive year for rises after a 10year lull. Methane is considered 25 times more potent than CO2 but as there is far less of it in the atmosphere, its overall climate impact is nearly half that of CO2.

CO2 growth meanwhile has increased consistently by more than two per cent each year since pre-industrial times although there have been temporary dips along the way lasting several years – particularly from 1930-36 after the Great Depression.

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