The 2016 Global Carbon Budget paper was published this week. The report is by sixty-seven people from all around the world. It is described as the "11th annual update of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and their partitioning among the atmosphere, land, and ocean. This data synthesis brings together measurements, statistical information, and analyses of model results in order to provide an assessment of the global carbon budget and their uncertainties for years 1959 to 2015, with a projection for year 2016".
What the authors found was that carbon emissions dropped slightly in 2015, and are likely to increase only slightly this year. Over the last three years there has been almost no growth in emissions, which might be a sign that the world will soon see a decline in emissions - or not (if Donald Trump has his way).
The perfidy and illogic of extremist right wing science deniers
When clean air regs came in, the smog advocates said - look, clean air. We don't need any regulations.
When, because of a huge effort, there were only a few hiccups with the Y2k bug, the idiots said - look, we survived. All that effort spent on fixing computers wasn't necessary.
When there was a mammoth investment in family planning programs, education, poverty reduction, and technological advances in contraception, the small government proponents said - see, people are having fewer babies. All that effort spent on education, poverty reduction and family planning support wasn't necessary.
When there was a recent announcement that the enormous efforts around the world to reduce emissions might finally be starting to work, the illogical Anthony Watts said:
Who needs the Paris climate agreement? CO2 emissions are declining on their own
Well, no. They aren't "declining on their own". They aren't even declining. They are hopefully stabilising because of world-wide efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. They are not increasing as much because the evidence shows that if we don't do something, there will be a lot of damage. Emissions aren't increasing as much because all the nations in the world have been committing themselves to reductions - beginning way back when the UNFCCC was created more than 30 years ago. This is despite the best efforts of Anthony Watts to prevent the world from mitigating climate change.
Climate science deniers are among the most deluded people on the planet. They are as bad as the voters in the USA who think that Donald Trump has their interests at heart. They deluded themselves into ignoring the fact that Donald Trump is only working for one thing: himself - to expand his personal fame, fortune and power, probably in that order. (Donald Trump has been said to have the traits of a narcissistic sociopath.)
Family sitting on gold thrones promise they have interests of all Americans at heart https://t.co/EswTqmnD88 British Trump coverage is great— Liam Stack (@liamstack) November 15, 2016
Flattening emissions is not the first step. They need to be reduced, a lot.
In the comments, it's clear that most of Anthony Watts' fans are as bad at arithmetic (and understanding of climate change) as he is. That's not surprising. Anthony's target audience is the right wing authoritarian conspiracy theorist of little brain.
What many of Anthony's fans don't understand is that as long as we are adding more CO2 to the atmosphere than can be removed each year, atmospheric CO2 will continue to increase.
Many of the people commenting didn't understand the difference between the amount of annual emissions and the amount of atmospheric CO2. Some of them seemed to mistakenly think that slow or no growth in emissions meant slow or no growth in atmospheric CO2.
That is a huge mistake.
Atmospheric CO2 has been rising a lot. Every time we pour CO2 into the air, it adds to how much will stay in the air for a very long time. Around half of what we throw away is absorbed on the land and in the oceans, the rest accumulates in the air and causes the planet to get hotter and hotter.
Below is a chart showing how atmospheric CO2 is increasing. Move the cursor over the chart to see the data:
The weird thing is that while climate disinformers are bemused and befuddled by this new paper (or press release), I don't think any of them have made the logical leap. The leap being that the world can survive and thrive while shifting to renewables.
Here are some examples of dimwittedness:
John another is wrong. The oceans are not cooling, and if they were it wouldn't have any bearing on emissions from burning fossil fuel. What would happen is that more CO2 would be absorbed by the oceans. However in our warming world the oceans are warming, not cooling and the earth is not about to ice up.
November 14, 2016 at 5:10 pm
Recently here on WUWT I think there was an article about the planet recently greening an area the equivalent of two United States. And if the oceans, over all, are cooling, that may account for any reduction.
Look for Snowball Earth coming to an election cycle near you soon.
NZ Willy is a conspiracy theorist who doesn't "trust" scientists, and who didn't bother searching for the paper itself. If he had, he'd have known that it was produced by 67 scientists from around the world.
November 14, 2016 at 12:08 pm
I’ll believe the atmospheric measurement of CO2 over the UEA compilations anytime. The CO2 increase will be dampened by increasing biomass consumption and oceanic deep-sinking. Does UEA have credibility anymore? As long as Phil Jones and crew are there, they’re probably issuing politically-motivated statistics.
The answer to the question from Jeff from Colorado is "yes". He is wrong.
November 14, 2016 at 12:26 pm
I reviewed the CO2 page on WUWT. If human released CO2 had an affect on global CO2 levels and human CO2 emission have dropped to near zero, then you could see the drop on the Mauna Loa CO2 graph. I do not see a change in the graph. Either there is no affect, or the effect is so small it cannot be measured because it is smaller than the error in measurement. Either way, our reduction has no affect on global CO2 levels and the amount we were generating had no affect either. Therefore, Human released CO2 has no affect on global CO2 level, and any climate effect caused by CO2 is not affected by our release of CO2. Where am I wrong?
Where he is wrong is that CO2 emissions have not "dropped to near zero". They are about as high as they've ever been in human history. Last year we emitted around 9.9 ± 0.5 GtC (36.3 Gt of CO2) just from from fossil fuels and industry. That's not including the increase from other sources, such as changing land use, wildfires and deforestation. Therefore Jeff's follow-on arguments are also wrong. There won't be a drop in Mauna Loa CO2 because about half those emissions add to the CO2 in the air.
Greg responded to Ferdinand Englebeen, who pointed out that half the emissions stay in the air, and showed he doesn't understand what happens:
November 14, 2016 at 5:53 pm
Ferdi: “CO2 levels in the atmosphere will increase until CO2 emissions and net sink rate are equal.”
So you are agreed with me. Le Quere is talking crap. Emissions do not need to drop to zero in order for atm CO2 to stop rising. They need to drop to about half the current annual rate at which point they will equal the current sink rate.
He is correct that emissions don't need to drop to zero for atmospheric CO2 to stop rising. However they will need to drop substantially. He is wrong if he thinks that the oceans and land will continue to absorb the same amount of CO2 when emissions drop. They will be more likely to absorb the same proportion of CO2 - that is, about half. The oceans won't absorb the same amount, because what is driving ocean absorption is the partial pressure of CO2. At realclimate.org a few years ago, it was suggested that we need a 60-70% cut to stabilise concentrations initially - and that was based on 2000 emissions. A 60% cut on 2000 emissions would mean a drop to around 2.7 Gt a year, or less than 1/3 of what was emitted last year. Stabilising concentrations wouldn't mean that climate change or global warming stops dead in its tracks. There will continue to be global warming before it eventually levels off. (If we stopped emissions altogether, then temperatures would probably start to fall almost right away as atmospheric CO2 fell.)
Kasuha was one of the few people on the ball.
November 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm
I’m pretty sure green groups will consider that achievement of global climate change related policies having some effect and will ask for their continuation. I guess it needs careful analysis why it occurred first.
From my point of view, though, constant emissions still mean constant rate of increase of “human produced” CO2 in atmosphere so if the task is to stabilize or lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations, it’s not achieving anything.
There was quite a bit of crazy conspiracy theorising. hollybirtwistle is an example of that:
November 14, 2016 at 12:50 pm
I would not trust anything the University of East Anglia said. They are in the business of advocacy, not accurate science. They’ll be some new scheme or strategy behind this announcement.
Greg is trying to convince himself that CO2 doesn't stay in the air, or the carbon cycle doesn't exist, or something:
November 14, 2016 at 5:45 pm
How would fudging emissions downwards in a way which does NOT match MLO be desirable. I’m not saying they are beyond rigging the data, that’s the “new normal” but try to be a bit logical in your claims.
If emissions have come to a standstill and atm CO2 is still rising at 2ppmv /year , it makes it look even less likely that emissions are the main cause of rising CO2 and thus temp increase or any other aspect of the 10.000 things that CO2 is supposed to be doing.
Val doesn't bother him or herself with facts, and wrongly claims that the planet's temperature hasn't been rising. This is during the hottest year after two previous hottest years on record. Nuts!
November 14, 2016 at 2:52 pm
It’s called Temperature.
It became more or less constant.
References and further reading
Corinne Le Quéré et al. Global Carbon Budget 2016. Earth System Science Data, 2016; 8 (2): 605 DOI: 10.5194/essd-8-605-2016 (open access)
Low growth in global carbon emissions continues for third successive year - press release at ScienceDaily.com
Climate change commitments - article by Gavin Schmidt at realclimate.org, March 2010