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Carbon Emissions: Greenhouse Gasses Pumped Into Atmosphere Reach Record Levels

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The level of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere has reached record levels, according to the US department of energy.

The figures reveal that the global output for greenhouse gasses is even higher than scientists feared, highlighting the difficulty facing climate campaigners in pushing for industrial counties to reduce their emissions.

Around 564m tons more carbon was pumped into the air in 2010 than in 2009, a 6% rise with China and the US responsible for more than half of the increase.

Speaking to the Associated Press (AP), Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University, called the figures "really dismaying".

"We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren," he said.

Also speaking to AP, Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past, called it a "monster" increase.

The burning of coal is believed to be one of the main contributing factors for the increase, with emissions from the energy source increasing by 8% in 2010.

More heartening for climate campaigners, the developed countries that signed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol have successfully reduced their emissions by around 10% over the past 14 years.

However, it is the carbon emissions of developing countries, such as Indian and China, that are cancelling out those gains, along with the US, which has steadfastly refused to sign the agreement.

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