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Carbon emissions to set new record in 2010

Global emissions of carbon dioxide are on track to reach record levels this year despite a recession and growing investments in green technology.

Steep hikes in emissions from emerging economies such as China and India offset modest decreases in emissions from western economies in 2010, according to the annual study from the Global Carbon Project.

The study forecasts that global fossil fuel emissions will increase by more than 3 per cent this year. That would reverse gains made in 2009, when emissions fell 1.3 percent compared with 2008.

China had an 8 per cent increase, while India recorded a 6.2 per cent rise in CO2 emissions, the study said. Some of the study's authors said the emerging economies heavy reliance on coal played a role in the rising carbon emissions.

Industrial carbon-dioxide emissions will be the subject of a new round of global climate talks set to begin next week in Cancun, Mexico.

Many nations have agreed in principle to stabilize emissions at 350 parts-per-million by the end of this century. Hundreds of climate scientists have agreed that if carbon were held to 350 ppm in the atmosphere, there is a 50 per cent chance of containing the increase in global average temperatures to about 2 degrees C over pre-industrial levels.

Yet stabilizing concentrations essentially means ceasing emissions once the desired level is achieved. Global CO2 concentrations are currently at 388 parts per million.

The Global Carbon Project was set up in 2001 to track of CO2 emissions and research on Earth's carbon cycle. The most recent report was released on Monday.

Monte Paulsen reports on carbon shift for The Tyee.

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