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Global CO2 Emissions Fell 1.3% in 2009

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2009 fell 1.3 percent to 31.3 billion tonnes in the first year-on-year decline in this decade, according to Internationals Wirtschaftsforum Regenerative Energien (IWR), reports Reuters.

The German-based Renewable Energy Industry Institute attributed the drop in CO2 emissions to the global economic crisis and rising investments in renewable energies.

However, Norbert Allnoch, IWR director, says the global decrease in CO2 emissions fell short of expectations in the wake of the economic crisis. Decreased CO2 emissions in Europe, the U.S., Russia, and Japan were almost cancelled out by significant increases in Asian and Middle Eastern countries, according to IWR.

As an example, Allnoch says that energy-related CO2 emissions in China were as high in 2009 as those in the U.S. and Russia combined as a result of the country’s economic growth.

Similarly, a recent report from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (NEAA) found that CO2 emissions remain unchanged, which  surprised several agencies including the International Energy Agency, which had predicted a significant decline in 2009.

The IWR report shows that China tops the CO2 ranking with 7.43 bil. t (2008: 6.8 bil.), surpassing the U.S. at 5.95 bil. t (2008: 6.4 bil.), followed by Russia at 1.53 bil. t (2008: 1.7 bil.), just ahead of India with 1.53 bil. t (2008: 1.4 bil.) and Japan with 1.23 bil. t (2008: 1.4 bil.).

IWR reports that global investment in renewable energy systems last year rose to 125 billion euros ($161 billion) from 120 billion euros in 2008, primarily due to reduced system prices.

But in order to slow the consumption of fossil fuels and to stabilize global CO2 emissions, Allnoch suggests it will be necessary to increase spending to at least 500 billion euros ($640.0 billion) annually worldwide.

Global CO2 emissions are 37 percent above those in 1990, the basis year for the Kyoto Climate Protocol, reports Reuters.

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