There was a “belief” that as a result of the global financial crisis we would see a drastic cut in carbon emissions. I say “belief” because a new report out shows that instead of there being a reduction there is evidence that emissions in 2010 soared past anything expected by scientists.
In fact both scientists and economists are worried that we are entering a terrifying “lose-lose” spiral where the increasing financial instability is linked – very closely – to climate instability.
The report, which was published today in Nature and says that the impact of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis was short lived because of strong emissions growth from the emerging economies to the point we experienced some of the highest total annual growth ever recorded.
It is believed that last year we pumped some 9 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere and emissions were up in all the countries that the study’s researchers looked at. This included the U.S. who jumped over 4 percent while China jumped 10.4 percent. Even the normally carbon emissions conscious Europe saw a jump of 2.2 percent.
Julie Steinberger, a University of Leeds ecological economist and contributor to the reports said this:
The economic crisis should have been an opportunity to invest in low-carbon infrastructure for the 21st century. Instead, we fostered a lose-lose situation: carbon emissions rocketing to unprecedented levels, alongside increases in joblessness, energy costs and income disparities. Surely the transition to a green economy has never seemed more appealing.
Appealing yes but appealing means nothing to companies that can continue to maximize their profits.