Some recent figures published in the American Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that terrestrial and marine carbon sinks are losing their ability to absorb carbon. In 2000, oceans and plant growth collectively absorbed about 600 of every 1000kg of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. In 2006, that had fallen to 540kg. While there is some degree of annual variation in such figures, a persistent downward trend would necessitate even more aggressive cuts in global human emissions.
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are now about 383ppm, and increasing by nearly 2ppm a year, in line with growth in annual emissions of about 3.3%. Total emissions in 2006 were about 9.9 gigatonnes, compared with 8.4 gigatonnes in 2000. Recall that those figures are just for carbon dioxide; other greenhouse gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide, also contribute to planetary warming.
If terrestrial and marine carbon sinks continue to suffer from a reduced capacity to absorb CO2, the total level of sustainable emissions for the planet may end up being even lower than the 5 gigatonnes that the Stern Review estimates the planet can handle.