Still rising

Despite individual and collective efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions—and a recession that forced reduction of some emission-releasing activities—carbon dioxide and methane releases increased in 2008. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were an additional 16.2 billion tons of CO2 and an extra 12.2 million tons of methane at the end of that year.

So far in 2009, increases in those gases are slightly less than what was measured in 2007.

NOAA scientist Pieter Tans said improvements in climate change won’t begin until people reduce dependence on fossil fuels and increase renewable energy production. “We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point where they match levels that can be absorbed by Earth’s ecosystems,” he said in a statement from NOAA.