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Trends in the sources and sinks of carbon dioxide

  • Author(s): Le Quéré, C
  • Raupach, MR
  • Canadell, JG
  • Marland, G
  • Bopp, L
  • Ciais, P
  • Conway, TJ
  • Doney, SC
  • Feely, RA
  • Foster, P
  • Friedlingstein, P
  • Gurney, K
  • Houghton, RA
  • House, JI
  • Huntingford, C
  • Levy, PE
  • Lomas, MR
  • Majkut, J
  • Metzl, N
  • Ometto, JP
  • Peters, GP
  • Prentice, IC
  • Randerson, JT
  • Running, SW
  • Sarmiento, JL
  • Schuster, U
  • Sitch, S
  • Takahashi, T
  • Viovy, N
  • Van Der Werf, GR
  • Woodward, FI
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo689Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

Efforts to control climate change require the stabilization of atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. This can only be achieved through a drastic reduction of global CO 2 emissions. Yet fossil fuel emissions increased by 29% between 2000 and 2008, in conjunction with increased contributions from emerging economies, from the production and international trade of goods and services, and from the use of coal as a fuel source. In contrast, emissions from land-use changes were nearly constant. Between 1959 and 2008, 43% of each year's CO 2 emissions remained in the atmosphere on average; the rest was absorbed by carbon sinks on land and in the oceans. In the past 50 years, the fraction of CO 2 emissions that remains in the atmosphere each year has likely increased, from about 40% to 45%, and models suggest that this trend was caused by a decrease in the uptake of CO 2 by the carbon sinks in response to climate change and variability. Changes in the CO 2 sinks are highly uncertain, but they could have a significant influence on future atmospheric CO 2 levels. It is therefore crucial to reduce the uncertainties. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

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