There were two upsides to the recent global economic downturn.  One was largely limited to the developing world, at least at first glance.  Due to the continued economic growth of many developing economies even as the OECD economies contracted, there was actually a measure of convergence among economic productivity levels globally (with the huge caveat that the data on this is a bit shaky).  I’m not sure many living in the OECD would have seen this as an upside, except in hoping that this growth would foster greater consumption and the emergence of needed markets in which we might sell our stuff and therefore trigger our own recovery.  The other upside, though, was of global import – less economic activity notably lowered global greenhouse gas emissions, slowing our otherwise breakneck effort to change the global climate.  Yeah, great!  That downturn could really help . . .

Oh wait, it only lasted one year.  And now emissions appear to be surging past even our not-so-happy scenarios into the void beyond the worst case.  Climate Crocks has the chart (click to enlarge):

What does it mean?  Hard to say.  All I can say with certainty is that we are hurling ourselves down a very uncertain, unclear path without any safety nets.  I find that deeply worrying.