UEA scientists report shock climb in CO2

Home owners are being encouraged to use energy more efficiently as Norfolk scientists reveal the level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising 35pc faster than expected.

Homeowners are being encouraged to use energy more efficiently as Norfolk scientists reveal the level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising 35pc faster than expected.

At the start of energy efficiency week, a team of UEA scientists last night published a report concluding that inefficiency in the use of fossil fuels increased levels of CO2, widely agreed to be one of the main causes of climate change, by 17pc.

The other 18pc came from the decline in the efficiency of natural land and ocean sinks which soak up CO2 from the atmosphere - a problem highlighted in another piece of UEA research, as reported in yesterday's EDP.

Author Corinne Le Quéré, of UEA and the British Antarctic Survey, said: "If people in their homes use energy more efficiently then it will show at an international level."

The research by the Global Carbon Project, UEA and the British Antarctic Survey shows improvements in the carbon intensity of the global economy have stalled since 2000 after improving for 30 years, leading to the unexpected growth of atmospheric CO2.

Dr Le Quéré added: "Thirty-five per cent is a huge amount. The 17pc caused by energy inefficiency is because for 30 years we had been more efficient but then we stalled and the reason is the shift from oil and gas to coal as developing countries emerge.

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"Richer countries need massive investment in new renewable technologies to counteract this.

"The other 18pc is from the decline in global sink efficiency which suggests that stabilisation of atmospheric CO2 is even more difficult to achieve than previously thought.

"We found that nearly half of the decline in the efficiency of the ocean CO2 sink is due to the intensification of the winds in the Southern Ocean."

The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study also states that global CO2 emissions were up to 9.9bn tons of carbon in 2006, 35pc above emissions in 1990 (used as a reference year in the Kyoto Protocol).

A variety of events are taking place across East Anglia in a bid to encourage more people to cut their use of energy.

The Energy Team at Broadland and South Norfolk will be taking part in a roadshow with the Energy Bus.

"At this time of year, when the clocks go back and the weather is turning colder, we all need to think about keeping the cold out of our homes and being energy efficient," said Roger Foulger, portfolio holder for housing and environmental services.

It will be at Long Stratton Co-op today from 10am to noon and 2.30pm to 4pm.

Tomorrow, it heads to Waitrose at Wymondham from 10am to 4pm while on Thursday it will be at Sainsbury, Longwater retail park, from 10am to 4pm. On Friday it travels to B and Q, Hellesdon, from 10am to 4pm.

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