A collection of sobering take-home points from a consortium of climate scientists and economists from around the world — the Global Carbon Project — and their findings for 2010, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change:

  • The amount of man-made carbon dioxide released in 2010 reached a record 10 billion tonnes, nearly 6% higher than in 2009.
  • Global CO2 emissions since 2000 are tracking the high end of the projections used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which far exceed 2º warming by 2100.
  • The past decade has seen an unprecedented increase in greenhouse gases released from fossil fuels, deforestation and the manufacture of cement, resulting in an average rise of 3.1% per year. This compares with an annual increase of just 1% per year during the 1990s.
  • The global emissions of carbon dioxide from man-made sources have increased by nearly 50% over the past two decades, culminating in the release of a record 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2010. The trend has continued on the same trajectory during 2011.
  • We are now tracking the high end of the worst case scenario of the IPCC. At the moment we are very far away from keeping within the target of a 2º increase in global temperatures by the end of the century. We are more on course for a 4º rise, and possibly as high as 6º if carbon feedbacks begin.
  • In the developed world, carbon dioxide emissions fell by 1.3% in 2008 and fell again by 7.6% in 2009, rising by 3.4% in 2010.
  • In the developing world, dominated by China, emissions increased by 4.4% in 2008, increased by 3.9% in 2009 and 7.6% in 2010.
  • The figure for 2010 cancels out a downturn in emissions the year before.

Anyone get the feeling we’re going backwards? Just like the politics at Durban, the maths here suggests as much.