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Page added on February 25, 2009

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CO2 rise in atmosphere accelerates in 2008

LONDON (Reuters) – Increases in the amount of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere accelerated last year, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told Reuters on Wednesday.

The new data may dampen hopes that a slowdown in industrial output and carbon emissions, which started at the end of last year, will temporarily deflect climate change.

Some analysts had hoped that recession would give the world breathing space to reverse its impact on the climate. The new NOAA data showed that levels of carbon dioxide accelerated slightly last year.

“For us to see (the impact) in the atmosphere it would take a large drop in emissions, but it hasn’t happened yet and that’s very clear from this data,” said Thomas Conway, a NOAA climate scientist who helped compile the figures.

“If the change in emissions is only a few percent we’re not going to see that in the atmosphere,” Conway told Reuters, explaining that natural processes, whereby for example forests and oceans mop up carbon dioxide, masked small changes in manmade emissions in the short-term at least.


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