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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Soaring Carbon Emissions Point To ‘Disaster For All Countries’

The sun sets behind the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant in Emmett, Kan. in December 2012. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

The sun sets behind the Jeffrey Energy Center coal power plant in Emmett, Kan. in December 2012. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

Global levels of carbon dioxide rose to record high levels last year, according to a report by the International Energy Agency.

The IEA is warning that unless nations take urgent action to change this, average temperatures on the earth could rise by more than nine degrees Fahrenheit, which its chief economist warns “would be a disaster for all countries.”

Steven Mufson, energy correspondent for The Washington Post, says one challenge is population growth.

“By 2050 — the target date for a lot of these goals — the world may have a third more people,” Mufson told Here & Now. “So just to keep it mission steady is going to be a huge task. To actually lower them by 30, 40, 50 percent, the way a lot of climate scientists say is necessary, is just a monumental task. And frankly, I’m not sure how we get there.”

The U.S. was one bright spot in the report. For the fourth time in five years, carbon emissions in the U.S. were down.

But can that downward trajectory be maintained?

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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