The recession has been painful for most of us, but it’s been GOOD in one way: It’s cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, which means it’s reduced the threat of global warming.

Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have surged to record levels following the 2008-09 global financial crisis, when a stagnant economy resulted in a temporary decline in emissions (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show).

The sharp decrease in global carbon dioxide emissions attributed to the worldwide financial crisis in 2009 quickly rebounded in 2010, according to research supported by the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In 2010, emissions reached an all-time high of 9.1 billion tons of carbon, compared with 8.6 billion tons in 2009. The downturn was also followed by milestone carbon dioxide emissions from the developing world’s emerging economies. In developing countries, consumption-based emissions, or those emissions associated with the consumption of goods and services, increased 6.1 percent over 2009 and 2010. As a result, 2009 marked the first time that developing countries had higher consumption-based emissions than developed countries.

Climate researcher Tom Boden says, "Previously, developed countries released more carbon dioxide, but that’s no longer true due to emerging economies in developing countries, such as China and India. This trend will likely continue in the future based on current developments."

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