Emissions hit record in 2011, likely ’12, researchers say

Justin Gillis and John Broder / New York Times News Service /

Global emissions of carbon dioxide were at a record high in 2011 and are likely to take a similar jump in 2012, scientists reported Sunday — the latest indication that efforts to limit such emissions are failing.

Emissions continue to grow so rapidly that an international goal of limiting the ultimate warming of the planet to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, established three years ago, is on the verge of becoming unattainable, said researchers affiliated with the Global Carbon Project.

Josep Canadell, a scientist in Australia who leads that tracking program, said Sunday in a statement that salvaging the goal, if it can be done, “requires an immediate, large and sustained global mitigation effort.”

Delegates from nearly 200 nations are meeting in Doha, Qatar, for the latest round of talks under the treaty, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Their agenda is modest this year, with no new emissions targets and little progress expected on a protocol that is supposed to be concluded in 2015 and take effect in 2020.