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Global CO2 emissions stalled for the third year in a row

The annual assessment of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the JRC and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) confirms that CO2 emissions have stalled for the third year in a row. The report provides updated results on the continuous monitoring of the three main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Global GHG emissions continue to be dominated by fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which however show a slowdown trend since 2012, and were stalled for the third year in a row in 2016.

Other main findings include:

  • In 2016, China, US, EU28, India, Russia and Japan, the world’s largest emitters in decreasing order of CO2 emissions, accounted for 51% of the population, 65% of global Gross Domestic Product, 67% of the total primary energy supply and emitted 68% of total global CO2 and circa 65% of total global GHGs.

  • Emissions from international transport (aviation and shipping) contribute another 3% to the total global GHG emissions.

  • These six countries show different trends: with 2% decreases for US and Russia, a 1% decrease for Japan, constant emissions for China and EU28 and a 5% increase for India. India does not show yet any decoupling of their emissions growth from their economic growth, unlike Brazil, where emissions fell by 6%.

  • Emissions are increasing in other developing countries: 6% for Indonesia and Malaysia; 9% for Pakistan and 12% for the Philippines. Also in Eurasia emissions grew in Turkey (5%) and Ukraine (8%).

  • Within the EU28 the trends vary between countries with decreases of 6% for the UK and Bulgaria and of 3% for Greece and Spain, while increases of 5% in Ireland and Denmark and of 4% in Sweden and Finland occurred.

Other greenhouse gases keep creeping up. Information on the other two greenhouse gases, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), is only available until 2012, as international statistics on agricultural activities—the main source of these emissions—are not updated as frequently as on energy and industry-related activities.

Uncertainty is also higher for these emissions than for CO2 emissions. However, the data until 2012 shows a steady increase in global GHG emissions, with an overall increase of 91% from 1970 to 2012.

CH4 is mainly generated by agricultural activities, the production of coal and gas, as well as waste treatment and disposal. N2O is mainly emitted by agricultural soil activities and chemical production.

In the EU, 60% of the CH4 and N2O emissions are emitted by the top six emitting countries: Germany, UK, France, Poland, Italy and Spain. The upward trend in CH4 and N2O emissions is also visible in the US, China, Japan and India which all recorded increasing GHG emissions.

Europe’s downward trend stalling. Over the past two decades, the EU28 has steadily decreased its CO2 emissions, which still represent two thirds of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2016, the EU’s CO2 emissions were 20.8% below the levels in 1990 and 17.9% below the levels in 2005. Since 2015, the EU’s CO2 emissions have stabilized, representing 9.6% of global emissions.

Country profiles. The report is based on the JRC’s Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), which is not only unique in its space and time coverage, but also in its completeness and consistency of the emissions compilations for multiple pollutants: the greenhouse gases (GHG), air pollutants and aerosols.

The new report contains country-specific fact sheets for 216 countries. The factsheets show the evolution of country-level CO2 emissions from 1990 to 2016 and the evolution of country-level GHG emissions from 1970 to 2012.



The five (5) countries creating 2/3+ of the world pollution will have to do more. USA and EU have apparently done more by transfering production to Asia (mainly to China-Vietnam-So-Korea) and Mexico but that has also transfered pollution; not reduced it.

China may be the major polluter curently doing the most to reduce pollution per dollar of production but it has a very long way to go.

CPPs and NGPPs will have to be replaced with clean REs and adequate storage. ICEVs will have to be replaced with BEVs and FCEVs. Oil heating furnaces will have to be replaced with electric heat pumps etc etc.

Polluters will have to pay for the total damages.


It looks like S. Korea is getting rational about nuclear power; the citizens' committee to review the Shin Kori expansion project unexpectedly voted 60% in favor of completing units 5 and 6.

This means

  1. about 10 million tons/year of LNG demand, destroyed.
  2. about 28 million tons/year of CO2 emissions eliminated.
  3. Substantially improved energy security for S. Korea.


It's important to note that this article refers to emission rates. Global warming and resulting Climate Change cares only about the accumulation of CO2, so we need to get those emission rates into negative territory before there is anything to celebrate.

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