Most experts expect the financial situation will lead to a slight decline in the projected 3% annual rise in world emissions. However, one scientist said a repeat of the Great Depression of the 1930s would see emissions falling by 35%. Opinions are also divided as to if the rising emissions from developing nations, such as China and India, are likely to more than offset any decline in developed countries.
"What we’re seeing in a number of countries is slower growth rather than a decline," Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters. "It would be a pretty depressing way to make progress, to find that recession was helping the world to kick an addiction to burning fossil fuels that spur rising greenhouse gases."
A drop in the demand for energy has resulted in a recent oil price crash that may discourage a shift to greener lifestyles. Motorists may drive more in aging, polluting cars because they cannot afford new ones. Since 1970, greenhouse-gas emissions have increased by about 50% and are currently predicted to rise by almost half again by 2030.
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