|Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use by region (not including cement production). Click to enlarge.|
A preliminary estimate by The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Milieu- en Natuurplanbureau, MNP) concludes that China’s CO2 emissions in 2006 surpassed those of the USA by 8%, rising to 6,200 megatonnes. This includes CO2 emissions from industrial processes, notably cement production. With this, China tops the list of CO2 emitting countries for the first time.
In 2005, China’s CO2 emissions were 2% below those of the US. MNP based its estimate on recently published BP energy data and cement production data.
Of all industrial processes, cement clinker production is the largest source of CO2. It contributes around 4% to the total of CO2 emissions from fuel use and industrial activities, globally. China has a large share in global cement production (about 44% in 2006), and cement production’s domestic share of CO2 emissions in China is almost 9% (550 megatonnes out of a total of the total 6,200 megatonnes).
In 2006, the total of China’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased by 9% from 2005 levels. In the US, emissions in 2006 decreased by 1.4%, compared to 2005 levels. In the European Union countries (the EU 15) in that same year, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels remained more or less constant; in 2005 there was a decrease by 0.8%, according to a recent report by the EEA compiling data from the member states.
In 2006, worldwide CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use increased by about 2.6%—a slower rate of increase than the 3.3% in 2005. The 2.6% increase is mainly due to a 4.5% increase in global coal consumption, of which China contributed more than two-thirds. In the 1990-2006 period global fossil-fuel related CO2 emissions increased more than 35%. According to MNP’s analysis:
Global CO2 emissions from coal combustion increased 4.5% (+500 megatonnes CO2). China contributed most to this increase with a 9% increase in 2006 (vs. 12% in 2005). In the rest of the world coal combustion emissions increased by 2%.
Global CO2 emissions from combustion of natural gas increased 2.5% (+130 megatonnes CO2), mainly due to increasing consumption in Russia and China.
Global CO2 emissions from combustion of oil products increased only 0.7% (+90 megatonnes CO2), mainly due to a decrease in consumption in OECD countries by 0.9% on average.
Methodology and data sources. MNP estimates are based on the most recent data on fossil fuel consumption from the BP Review of Energy 2007 (BP, 2007) and cement production data through 2006 published by the US Geological Survey (USGS). The CO2 estimates for 2005 and 2006 were compiled by MNP using the detailed national CO2 emission estimates for energy use through 2004 compiled by the International Energy Agency (IEA,2006) and its own estimates for CO2 emissions from cement clinker production.
The estimates of CO2 emissions do not include emissions from flaring and venting of associated gas during oil and gas production and CO2 emissions from deforestation/logging/decay of remaining biomass and are calculated using default CO2 emission factors recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). CO2 emissions from underground coal fires in China and elsewhere are not included either. The magnitude of these sources is very uncertain; according to recent research CO2 emissions from coal fires are estimated at 150-450 megatonnes CO2 annually in China.
The energy data annually published by BP appear to be reasonably accurate, according to MNP. Based on older BP energy data, the increase in 2004 in CO2 emissions was estimated at 4.9% globally. With presently available more detailed statistics of the International Energy Agency (IEA) for 2004 the increase is now estimated at 5.0%.