If there were one good thing to come out of the economic recession, you would think it would be a decrease in carbon emissions from industrial slowdowns. Unfortunately, new research shows that’s not the case. Data measured by Norway’s Zeppelin station on the Arctic Svalbard showed that carbon dioxide levels were actually higher this year than during the same period in 2009. The research indicates that despite the recession, carbon emissions continue to rise.
The data is collected and analyzed by scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute and Stockholm University. Researchers found that during the first two weeks of March, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to 393.71 parts per million (ppm), up from 393.17 ppm during the same period last year. John Stroem, a scientist with the Norwegian Polar Institute, told Reuters that looking back at data gathered since the 1980s, the increase in carbon concentration levels seems to be accelerating.
The data is surprising because many folks, including the International Energy Agency, anticipated carbon dioxide emissions to fall due to recent industrial slowdowns in many nations. One possible explanation is that because each carbon molecule emitted typically lingers in the atmosphere for many years, concentrations can keep rising despite a decrease in industrial activity.
The news is depressing, for sure. But if anything, it only strengthens the argument that we absolutely need global limits on carbon emissions. Hopefully, nations can come together and finally hammer out some much-need climate policy at the next UN climate change convention in Mexico City.