Global 2008 CO2 emissions rose 2 percent: German institute

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Global carbon dioxide emissions in 2008 rose 1.94 percent year-on-year to 31.5 billion metric tons, German renewable energy industry institute IWR said on Monday, based on official information and its own research.

Smoke billows from chimneys at a chemical factory in Tianjin Municipality, China, December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

The private institute, which is based in Muenster and advises German ministries, said climate-harming carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose for the tenth year in succession, running counter to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol aimed at trying to cut CO2 emissions by 5.2 percent by 2012.

IWR recommends linking measured emissions to individual countries’ renewable energy investment commitments.

It said if negotiators adopted this approach, it could stabilize overall fossil fuels consumption and related CO2 emissions.

“Kyoto is not working out,” said IWR Managing Director Norbert Allnoch. Global emissions are 40 percent above those in 1990, the basis year for the treaty.

“(Our recommendation) is a better approach than trying to persuade countries to curb their industrial activities, which inevitably creates hostility and bickering over who should be doing what to protect the climate,” he said.

The approach would involve linking the CO2 output of each of the 65 countries and some other regions to investments in renewable energy industries such as wind, solar or biofuels.

Some 120 billion euros ($170.3 billion) were invested in renewables in 2008, IWR said.

It said this should at least be quadrupled to total around 500 billion euros a year for the world to reverse the runaway trend in CO2 pollution.

“The higher the CO2 emissions, the higher the renewables investment in each country should be,” Allnoch said.

Carbon dioxide emissions from heavy industry participating in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme fell 3.1 percent last year compared with 2007, the EU’s executive Commission said in mid-May.

This was due to falling industrial output from the global economic slowdown, it said.

Reporting by Vera Eckert; editing by Nina Chestney and James Jukwey