CO2 Skyrockets Despite Economy

'Fried Earth,' <a href="">Hans G. Doller</a>, via <a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>.

Nature Climate Change published a new science paper yesterday showing that the 2008-2009 economic crisis barely dented the global rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Unlike other recessions, where emissions dipped for years, the last one offered only a year of respite from accelerating emissions, and only a paltry 1.4 percent in total.

By 2010, CO2 emissions skyrocketed 6 percent higher, for a world record 10 billion tons, with 2011 following suit.

Looks like all sides of the political bickering are to blame. From the paper:

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel combustion and cement production grew 5.9% in 2010, surpassed 9 Pg of carbon for the first time, and more than offset the 1.4% decrease in 2009. The impact of the 2008–2009 global financial crisis on emissions has been short-lived owing to strong emissions growth in emerging economies, a return to emissions growth in developed economies, and an increase in the fossil-fuel intensity of the world economy.

This level of emissions now puts the world firmly on course for the ‘worst case’ global-warming scenario, where worldwide temperatures would rise between 7.2°F and 10.8°F (4°C and 6°C) by 2100. 


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.