Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production grew 2.3 per cent to a record high of 36.1 billion tonnes CO2 in 2013. In 2014 emissions are set to increase a further 2.5%, 65 per cent above the level of 1990.
In its annual analysis of trends in global carbon dioxide emissions, the Global Carbon Project (GCP) published three peer-reviewed articles identifying the challenges for society to keep global average warming less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
The top-four emitters of CO2 have a critical role in global emissions growth:
- Chinese emissions grew at 4.2%, due to slower economic growth and faster improvements in carbon intensity of the economy compared to the previous decade
- USA emissions increased 2.9%, due to a rebound in coal consumption potentially reversing the downward trend since the start of the shale-gas boom in 2007
- Indian emissions grew at 5.1%, due to robust economic growth and a continued increase in the carbon intensity of the economy
- EU28 emissions decreased 1.8%, due to a weak economy and emission decreases in some countries offsetting a return to coal led by Poland, Germany, Finland
“China now emits more than the US and EU combined and has CO2 emissions per person 45% higher than the global average, exceeding even the EU average”, said Robbie Andrew, a co-author of the studies based at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO) in Norway.
“China continues to reshape the global distribution of emissions, and as politics impedes significant progress in the US and other key countries, observers increasingly look to China to provide a breakthrough in climate negotiations”, said Glen Peters, another CICERO-based co-author....
A coal bike in China, shot by Brian Kelley, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license