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Greenhouse Gases Surging: US Report

Carbon dioxide emissions take biggest jump on record
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2011 11:48 AM CST
NOAA: Greenhouse Gases Surging
Workers cycle past a coal-fired power plant n northeast China's Jilin province.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases continued to build in the atmosphere last year, a federal report finds: Between 2009 and 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s yearly index of greenhouse gases—which measures said gases' combined heating effect—jumped 1.5%, to 1.29. It has climbed 29% since 1990, the Los Angeles Times reports. That number isn't the equivalent to a change in our temperature in degrees, but as it rises, so too does our warming potential, says a NOAA director.

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"We're up over 20% over where we were in 1990, in our effort to cut greenhouse gases. So we're not doing very well," he notes. And a recent Energy Department report provides no solace for those who fear an acceleration of global warming: Emissions of carbon dioxide, it found, grew 6% in 2010—the biggest yearly increase on record, exceeding scientists’ worst-case predictions. We have, however, slightly reduced concentrations of harmful CFCs, NOAA finds. (Read more National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stories.)

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