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Steep increase in global CO2 emissions despite reductions by industrialized countries; driven by power generation and road transport

JRC global CO2
Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production per region. Source: JRC. Click to enlarge.

After a decline in global CO2 emissions in 2009 of 1% (including a correction for the leap year 2008), global emissions have jumped by more than 5% in 2010, which is unprecedented in the last two decades, according to the newly published report “Long-term trend in global CO2 emissions,” prepared by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

Global emissions of CO2 have increased by 45% between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tonnes in 2010 despite emission reductions in industrialized countries during the same period. 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.

Indexed CO2
Indexed global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production per sector (1970 = 100). Source JRC. Click to enlarge.

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, partly thanks to large emission reductions from economies in transition in the early nineties and more recent reductions due to the 2008-2009 recession, according to the report.

The report, which is based on recent results from the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) and latest statistics for energy use and other activities, shows large national differences between industrialised countries.

Over the period 1990-2010, in the EU-27 and Russia CO2 emissions decreased by 7% and 28% respectively, while the USA’s emissions increased by 5% and the Japanese emissions remained more or less constant. In 1990, the industrialised countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol (ratifying Annex 1 countries) and the US caused about two-thirds of global CO2 emissions. Their share of global emissions has now fallen to less than half the global total.

Continued growth in the developing countries and emerging economies and economic recovery by the industrialized countries are the main reasons for a record breaking 5.8% increase in global CO2 emissions between 2009 and 2010, according to the report.

Most major economies contributed to this increase, led by China, USA, India and EU-27 with increases of 10%, 4%, 9% and 3% respectively. The increase is significant even when compared to 2008, when global CO2 emissions were at their highest before the global financial crisis. In the EU-27, CO2 emissions 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).

per country
per capita
CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production per country (left), per capita (center), and per unit of GDP (right). Source: JRC. Click each to enlarge.

At present, the US emits 16.9 tonnes CO2 per capita per year, more than twice as much as the EU-27 with 8.1 tonnes. By comparison, Chinese per capita CO2 emissions of 6.8 tonnes are still below the EU-27 average, but now equal those of Italy. The average figures for China and EU-27 hide significant regional differences.

Long term global growth in CO2 emissions continues to be driven by power generation and road transport, both in industrial and developing countries. Globally, they account for about 40% and 15% respectively of the current total and both have consistent long-term annual growth rates of between 2.5% and 5%.

Throughout the Kyoto Protocol period, industrialized countries have made efforts to change their energy sources mix. Between 1990 and 2010 they reduced their dependence on coal (from 25% to 20% of total energy production) and oil (from 38% to 36.5%), and shifted towards natural gas (which increased from 23% to 27 %), nuclear energy (from 8% to 9%) and renewable energy (from 6.5% to 8%).

In addition they made progress in energy savings, for example by insulation of buildings, more energy-efficient end-use devices and higher fuel efficiencies.

The report shows that the current efforts to change the mix of energy sources cannot yet compensate for the ever increasing global demand for power and transport. This needs to be considered in future years in all efforts to mitigate the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions, as desired by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Bali Action Plan and the Cancún agreements.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission’s in-house science service. Its mission is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of European Union policies.

The Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) project uses the latest scientific information and data from international statistics on energy production and consumption, industrial manufacturing, agricultural production, waste treatment/disposal and the burning of biomass in order to model emissions for all countries of the world in a comparable and consistent manner. EDGAR is also unique in its provision of historical emission data for 20 years prior to 1990, the reference year for the Kyoto protocol.



Account Deleted

Note how China already emits more CO2 per capita than Italy, Brazil, France and Spain. The trend is clearly that China will emit more CO2 per capita than Europe by 2013. It shows that even though China is a growing economy that could invest in the most efficient technology they chose not to. Instead they just expand their economy using the least costly technology which is based on coal burning. It seems China couldn’t care less about the global environment. Hopefully the effects of local pollution and emissions will force them to care more in the future.


Is anyone doing anything to suggest China not emit so much?? Guess not. Okay. The AMSRE_SST shows continued cooling through January 2011 - what the hel!?

Already the world's worst air and water pollution - China looks more and more like the globe's least considerate citizen. Shape up CCP!!!

Nick Lyons

US should launch an Apollo-type program to develop molten-salt reactors which will 1) burn off the long-lived transuranics in our nuclear waste stockpiles and 2) breed U233 from thorium to fuel more molten-salt reactors. Replace coal with abundant thorium. Replace fossil fuel with synthetics made with safe nuclear power. The future is bright if we just dare to be audacious.

PS: Chinese government is now pursuing molten-salt reactor technology developed at ORNL in 1960s and then abandoned in favor of plutonium breeders.


The three (3) champions are still (by far) Australia, USA and Canada. We are hopeless.

China's and India's per capita is still low but will rise as their GNP goes up and as they continue to be the world's factories.

China and India would have to use many more nuclear power plants (as France does) plus Wind and Solar power to keep their per capita GHG low.

Peace Hugger

@Henrik, @Reel$$,

You guys are hopeless. China has the world's highest installed windpower capacity. Though it is in absolute terms, it is remarkable considering it's current state of economic development. It's per capita income is still 1/10th of the west. Now it's moving to start increasing their solar power generation on a bigger scale.

If you go by the per capita wealth of the US, then it has been the most inconsiderate nation by far as been emphasized by western analysts.


Let's us not forget that we stabilized our per capita GHG by moving our manufacturing activities to China, India, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonisea etc etc and by going into a deep recession.

Roger Pham

Some times learning the hard way is the only way to learn. When the summer heart records will keep getting broken, more drought records will keep happening, and more weather extremes will keep happening, and more desertification of many more parts of the world, more failed crops and famine, tropical diseases and infestation moving up north, lost of coastal lands due to rising sea level...
I'm sure that humanity will one day learn and get serious about global warming and will do something about it.

Let's be optimistic: On a societal level, we have been successful in many public campaigns such as against smoking, the spread of HIV/AIDS, heart disease, racial discrimination and civil rights, control of population growth in many parts of the world such the "One-Child family" rule, the spread of democracy to the Middle East once thought was impossible etc.

It sometimes take more than one generation to spread the message across. Young people are more receptive to new information than the older generations. Let's teach the children well how to maintain this Earth...because, once the older generation will pass-away, then, they will inherit this earth, and swim or sink, they will solely be responsible for their destiny! At least, we have the understanding, the knowledge and the technologies regarding how to reverse global warming and to solve other environmental issues.


By all means deny the existence of satellite data showing the failure of AGW to appear!!

Or, declare the Greenland ice pack as having lost 15% mass in 12 years!! And then refuse to admit the FUBAR!

See why no one believes you??

Roger Pham

Don't know about AGW, but the evidences supporting rapid GW are unequivocal and overwhelming.
The most authoritative source is from NASA, the same scientific agency that put men on the moon and has been leading us to explores our atmosphere, our planet and our entire solar system!

Let me post here an excerpt from this NASA website:
"The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. Studying these climate data collected over many years reveal the signals of a changing climate.

Certain facts about Earth's climate are not in dispute:

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many JPL-designed instruments, such as AIRS. Increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.
Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in solar output, in the Earth’s orbit, and in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.3

Sea level rise
Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.4

Global temperature rise
All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880. 5 Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. 6 Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase. 7

Warming oceans
The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.8

Shrinking ice sheets
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.

Declining Arctic sea ice
Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. 9

Glacial retreat
Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.10

Extreme events
The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.11

Ocean acidification
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.12,13 This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.14,15"

See the NASA website for a full page of references supporting the above.

More links to the BBC regarding evidences for GW:

Artic Ice Hits Second lowest record level

Polar Ice Loss quicken, Raising Seas

Roger Pham

It does not matters who or what was the cause of this very sudden and frightening acceleration in the rate of Global Warming. All it matters is that we have the knowledge and the capability and the technologies to reduce this rapid trend in GW. Let's get over our differences and let's get united to use all what we have available to avert this coming catastrophe!


Reel's link doesn't talk about climate scientists being wrong, but a commercial book effort called "the Times Atlas of the World". Typical falsehood-ridden garbage from the coal-lobby troll.


Coal, Oil, NG, SG, bio-fuels lobbies will continue to proclaim high and low that global warming does not exist and if some of it exist, it is not man-made. Lobbies are paid to distort the truth and make people believe what their sponsors want them to believe.

When GM repeatedly maintained for years that Hummer I, II and III were more efficient and safer than smaller Honda's, Toyota's etc. Many people believed GM and effectively bought those monsters. Had Governments not bailed GM, Hummers would still be produced and sold with the help of nation wide Ads campaign, lobbies and supportive paid research groups etc.

The majority does not know what to believe any more.

One recent example: Over 9,000,000 barrels of crude oil were leaked into the Bay of Niger without anyone worrying about it. Local people rely on fishing from the troubled waters. This continues to go on. It may spread to neighboring West Africa coasts within a few months.


The Times Atlas is not owned by The Times newspaper. It is published by Times Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, which is in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

It looks like FauxNews' high standards are creeping into Murdoch's other holdings.


@RP - "It does not matters who or what was the cause of this very sudden and frightening acceleration in the rate of Global Warming. (frightening for alarmists maybe) All it matters is that we have the knowledge and the capability and the technologies to reduce this rapid trend in GW."

There is evidence that the planet continues to warm following the LIA. This of course has nothing to do with CO2 or human activity. Human influence via phenomena like UHIE do appear to effect local urban temps - nothing globally in evidence yet.

So, if planet warming is due to natural variation - what technology do we have to change the PDO? The Earth's orbit? The solar wind? The sun spot cycle?? Planetary phenomena that REALLY influences climate?


“Four years in the making, The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World is painstakingly researched by a dedicated team of over 50 cartographers from Collins Bartholomew - with changes to the database made every 3 and a half minutes using a 24-hour-a-day news feed. The Atlas is relied on and trusted by governments around the world, international organizations including the UN and European Commission and media companies.”

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts." Feynman

Roger Pham

This warming trend is far too rapid to be explained by natural variation such as the earth orbit. That's why its so scary. Solar activities has not been much different than before, according to NASA, who invested more effort in the study of the sun than anyone else.

The most accessible global thermal switch for humanity is in the control of the concentration of Green-House Gases (GHG), and in the concentration of particulates in the atmosphere. Green house gases include water vapor, CO2, Methane, CFC, NOx, etc.
Better farming practices and the dietary switch from less methane-releasing livestocks can help.
You know what to do with curbing CO2 releases: Energy Independence and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Convince all the decision-makers (deciders) in Big Oil and Gas about the imminent dangers of Global Warming, because they are the most important people who can make the most difference. The task is similar to that of converting the Roman Emperors, those who had persecuted Christians, to Christianity to allow the rapid spread of Christianity.

Switching from CFC's and HFC in our AirConditioning and hair sprays to lesser GHG can do a lot of good.

I'm open to more suggestions from you. No one knows everything nor has all the answers. We will need the cooperation of everyone and all political parties, and all ideologies, and all nationalities to make it work.


Roger, you are clinging to a dead horse (better than beating it.) AGW has had its chance and has blown it. In great part due to absurdist exaggerations invented by strident alarmists. The latest example from the "World's most expert atlas," confirms. Alarmist fanatics publish fabrication claiming it to be climate gospel - and get caught. And then, like EP pretend it means nothing. Nice try.

Some still believe that fear of floods, droughts, tornadoes and hurricanes will change human behavior. So did the authors of Genesis. Wrong. Not if it is driven by man's emission of CO2.

If you want to see a world that stewards its resources responsibly - cease all pretense about "climate change." Accept it's a campaign that has outlived its usefulness and move on to Energy Independence and Climate Pragmatism. You'll enlist far more support (left and right) than continuing down a dead end.

BTW Roger your science is way off on CFCs. They were suspended from global use 20 years ago (Montreal Protocol) to halt the ozone hole over Antarctica. Twenty years later the hole is STILL there and just as large. And a new hole has formed over the Arctic!! "Experts" told us CFCs caused the ozone hole. In fact, they were wrong. "Experts" claim manmade CO2 is warming the globe...

Like the boy who cried wolf - your credibility is gone.


I'm sorry Reel but the ban on CFCs is incomplete. The Montreal Protocol gave developing nations more time to phase them out - up to 2030 I believe. And even then the scientists knew the CFCs would stay in the environment for a long time and warned that even if action was taken more quickly, ozone depletion could be reduced, but not reversed for at least 100 years.

Roger Pham

"Beware of false Prophets..."

I am nobody and has no credibility to worry about! I'm only a messenger from the scientific world to relay the message. Actually, the scientists have lost quite a bit of credibility when the mass of the people prefer to keep up with sports and entertainment rather than put up with the rigors of scientific thinking! What's happened to Lady GAGA, the Kardashians and Donald Trumps etc...are more important than the impending crises in economics and environment. Please rent and watch the movie "Idiocracy" by Mike Judge, the creator of "King of the Hill" adult cartoon.

Unlike Faith, Science is about Proof and in the demonstration of the Greenhouse Effect.
Walk into a Greenhouse, made with glass that allows more light waves to go thru while blocking more infrared waves exiting, and what do you experience? Warming effect of the Greenhouse Glass! Now, substituting the Greenhouse Glass with an equivalent layer of Greenhouse Gases. What will happen? Same thing, more heat retained that will heat the Greenhouse...Uh, the Earth! This type is demonstration is quite clear as demonstrated by NASA's planetary science through their rigorous exploration and data collection of over 50 years, of all our neighboring planets such as Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, etc.
This is so simple to understand, yet so many people simply REFUSE to see it.

It is irrelevant as to the exact cause of AGW. The acceleration of GW, a clearly established phenomenon over the past 100 years and accelerating rapidly, is what we should all be prepared to deal with. I agree with you regarding "Climate Pragmatism."

50 years ago, if I were to tell everyone about the harmful effect of tobacco smoking, they would have laugh at me! 50 years later, far fewer people smoke, and no public outcry when the gov. jacked up the prices of tobacco products 3-6 folds over previous. Those who are unable to quit smoking simply admit their shortcomings and pony up $6 USD to pay for a pack of cigarette that would have cost $0.50.
As the Earth continues to warm up, wreaking havocs on everyone, people eventually see it, and the gov. will be able to jackup the prices of fossil energy even 5 folds and would not get any major public outcry.

Sometimes, learning the hard way is the only way the mass of average people can learn!


OK, my mistake: 2030 is not for the last phase-out of CFCs per se, but rather for the phase-out of the last of ozone depleting substances (ODSs) covered in the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol had a whole list of ODSs, not just CFCs, and the issue of ozone depletion was so complex they adopted a staged approach to ODS phase-out with allowances for developing countries, use of some ODSs as transitional replacements for other ODSs, grandfathered equipment, and the continued use of recycled ODSs in some applications where no better replacement can be found; like the fire suppressors in submarines & aircraft, and some medical uses.

All in all, there should be no surprize that ozone depletion hasn't stopped yet.


The point you try to avoid to no avail ai_vin is the Montreal Protocol estimated to have cost the human race $$20-30 Trillion to implement - is an utter failure. Reduction of CFCs has NOT changed the natural variation in ozone over the Antarctic continent and in fact, a new depletion of ozone is noted over the Arctic.

Scientists were WRONG. It's okay to be WRONG. But ozone might well be depleted by cosmic rays. Same cosmic rays the recent CERN CLOUD experiment proved builds cloud seeds.

"Cosmic Rays (CRs) from space, and those emanating from the sun during sunspot activity, are the possible destroyers of ozone. Qing-Bin Lu’s latest proof of the CR theory for the ozone depletion was in Physical Review Letters on 3/19/9 []. Dr. Lu, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), said the fallacy was accepted for more than twenty years that Earth’s ozone layer is depleted by chlorine atoms produced by CFCs.

Lu and Sanche’s Study Suggests Cosmic Rays May Destroy Ozone:
Results show that CR electrons are about a million times more likely to interact inside the cloud than anyone previously believed. They found evidence for their model in a laboratory simulation of the conditions found in Antarctic clouds. They cooled a metal bar to below -170 °C, and condensed water vapor and CFCs onto its surface. When they then bombarded this “cloud” with low-energy electrons like those produced by CR’s, chlorine was produced.

All recent scientific research indicated Cosmic rays linked to ozone hole –
Both Lu and Sanche analyzed reliable CR and ozone data during 1980-2007, which cover two full “Schwabe” 11-year sunspot cycles. This unambiguously showed the time correlations between CR intensity and ozone depletion, especially over Antarctica. The Ozone Hole UW prof says cyclic ozone hole proves cosmic ray theory:

Qing-Bin Lu stating prior information on CFC ozone depletion emphatically (as indicated by his use of italics): “These conclusions were based on climate model simulations rather than direct observations."

See why nobody believes you and your sims anymore??

Roger Pham

Scientific knowledge is continually revised based on new data and new observation and new experimentation. Scientific knowledge enables us to improve our standard of living, cure diseases, increase life expectancy, and to resolve future problems. Science is not a dogma which forces everyone to believe without evidences.

Global Warming (GW) is an accelerated trend that is being observed and collaborated by hundreds of pieces of evidence and thousands of independent observers world wide over 100 years. Until you can find sufficient evidences to refute the phenomenon of accelerated GW, we all must get together to find ways to deal with it. The Greenhouse effect is a known phenomenon demonstrable by experimentation.

Let's use the Greenhouse effect of the GreenHouse Gases (GHG) to help us regulate the temperature of the Earth. We Mammals prefer to live a bit cooler than our predecessors, the Dinosaurs and the Reptiles. It wouldn't hurt to set the thermostat a little bit cooler. It's better for our brains, that way. Colder climate is where most of human intellectual achievement was done. Hotter climate have lead to violences and destabilization. Let's set aside our differences in party affiliation, ideology, or who we work for, to improve the living condition for humanity! This is truly Climate Pragmatism!

We can fight GW, reduce pollution, and improve economic condition and job growth at the same time, thus improving both economics and environmental conditions. This is Environmental Pragmatism! If we must wait until the Earth is hotter than Hell to be convinced of what to do, it'll be too late!

To validate the accuracy of computerized climate and weather prediction, try See how accurately weather can be predicted in your area!


I'm not trying to avoid anything Reel accept confusion. Your post was filled with so much crap I figured if I could boil it down to one mistake you'd see that you too can be wrong - to no avail. It's okay to be WRONG Reel, if you're man enough to admit to being wrong. I guess I was wrong in thinking you'd ever do that.

"SCIENCE: If you don't make mistakes, you're doing it wrong. If you don't correct those mistakes, you're doing it really wrong. If you can't accept that you're mistaken, you're not doing it at all."

Now as for Lu and Sanche’s Study: You really need to start reading the links you provide. The Lu and Sanche Study does not say CRs cause ozone depletion instead of CFCs, if that was your point. "They propose that cosmic rays contribute to ozone depletion through their interactions with human-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere: electrons created by cosmic rays break down CFC molecules, leading to the production of chorine atoms, which in turn break down ozone. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight destroys ozone in a similar manner."

Scientists were WRONG.
You can always find some "scientists" who are wrong but you'll also find others who will point out their mistakes. That's how science advances. Even with the CR study there are some who disagree so it's a given that one group or the other has to be wrong, right?

However, atmospheric scientists are far from convinced. Neil Harris of the European Ozone Research Coordinating Unit in Cambridge, England says: "It is hard to see how this mechanism would have a significant atmospheric effect."

Harris says many lines of evidence indicate that the reduction of CFCs in the upper atmosphere during the winter months is due to downward air currents, not chemical processes.

In addition, he says, since CFCs are not particularly soluble in water, they would not be present in cloud-born ice particles in very high concentrations, so the mechanism Lu and Sanche propose would not dissociate enough CFCs to have a big impact on ozone levels

This is why I always go with the greater numbers; the more scientists that say something is true the more I have confidence that it is true.


Oh, you mean like all the scientists who insisted the heliocentric theory was heresy? Hiding in "consensus" opinion does not make you right - just one of a herd.

ai_ the mere fact you (or someone) deny Dr. Lu's findings and those of others who see the clear connection between CRs and various climate effects - speaks volumes. Note too the Montreal Protocol was put into effect 33 years ago (1978) by the WMO and UNEP.

Fact is the depletion of ozone over the Antarctic is the same or greater than in 1978 and there is a disturbing new hole formed this past winter over the Arctic.

Science = admitting you are WRONG when you are WRONG.


Then you're no scientist, Reel. The economic impact you attribute to the elimination of CFCs is a goodly fraction of a year's Global World Product ($63 trillion in 2010). That's as laughable as everything else you post.

Atmospheric levels of CFCs levelled off about 10 years ago and most controlled gases are slowly decomposing.

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