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Environment

Report finds urgent work to be done on carbon emissions

Heat-trapping emissions rose 3 percent last year, a study has found. The report is released as world leaders are meeting in Doha, Qatar, to tackle climate change.

Scientists now project that global warming will exceed the goal of a 4-degree Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) increase. In 2011, the world pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

Despite a weak global economy, the rise is largely owing to rapid emissions growth in China and India, which may add urgency to UN climate talks in Doha.

"Unless large and concerted global mitigation efforts are initiated soon, the goal of remaining below 2 degrees Celsius will soon become unachievable," the authors of the annual report by the Global Carbon Project wrote.

The report found that the overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide polluter. China's carbon emissions grew 9.9 percent in 2011 after rising 10.4 percent in 2010 and now comprise 28 percent of all CO2 pollution compared with 16 percent for the United States.

India's emissions grew 7.5 percent last year versus 9.4 percent growth in 2010.

Emissions in the United States fell 1.8 percent and the European Union dropped 2.8 percent in 2011. Germany and the United States were the only countries among the top 10 polluters that reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

Dwindling time to act

Nearly 200 countries are attending the talks in Doha, which run until Dec. 7 with the aim of galvanizing countries to fight climate change by limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, a goal nations had agreed to in 2010. Temperatures have already risen by nearly 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times.

Contamination growth is placing the world on a warmer path to between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius, the study found, with global emissions increasing 58 percent between 1990 and 2012. The study focuses on contamination from burning fossil fuels and cement production. Emissions in 2011 from coal totaled 43 percent and oil 34 percent, with gas and cement production making up the rest.

The study found that though it is technically still possible to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, emissions growth would have to rapidly come to a halt and then fall quickly. A 3 percent emissions growth each year has made achieving the temperature limit even less likely and ever more costly.

mkg/hc (AP, Reuters)