Joint Research Centre - European Commission

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The European Commission's in-house science service
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Planet earth

Global CO2 emissions are rising despite efforts© barun patro (stock.xchng)

Global CO2 emissions soar despite efforts by industrialised countries

 

Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main cause of global warming – increased by 45 % between 1990 and 2010, reaching an all-time high of 33 billion tonnes in 2010. These findings were published on Wednesday 21 September in the report "Long-term trend in global CO2 emissions", prepared by the JRC's Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

The report shows that increased energy efficiency, nuclear energy and the growing contribution of renewable energy are not compensating for the globally increasing demand for power and transport, which is strongest in developing countries. The document is based on recent results from the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) and latest statistics for energy use and other activities.

This CO2 increase took place despite emission reductions in industrialised countries during the same period. Even though different countries show widely variable emission trends, industrialised countries are likely to meet the collective Kyoto target of a 5.2 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 as a group.

Throughout the Kyoto Protocol period, industrialised countries have made efforts to change their energy sources mix. Between 1990 and 2010 they reduced their dependence on coal and oil and shifted towards natural gas, nuclear energy and renewable energy. In addition they made progress in energy savings, with such measures as insulation of buildings, more energy-efficient end-use devices and higher fuel efficiencies.

Continued growth in the developing countries and emerging economies, and economic recovery by the industrialised countries are the main reasons for a record breaking 5.8% increase in global CO2 emissions between 2009 and 2010. Most major economies contributed to this increase, including China, USA, India and EU-27. The CO2 emissions in the EU-27 remain lower in absolute terms than they were before the crisis (4.0 billion tonnes in 2010 as compared to 4.2 billion tonnes in 2007).


The full report can be downloaded from:
the EDGAR website or the PBL website

 

21/09/11