By Gary Thomas
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) have released their annual report on ‘Trends in global CO2 emissions.’
The report finds continuous increase in global CO2 emissions. In 2011, the global CO2 emissions reached 34 billion t increasing by 3%. The per capita CO2 emissions of China reached 7.2 t increasing by 9%.
The US contributes 17.3 t/capita of CO2 emissions and is still one among the largest emitters, in spite of recession, high oil prices, and increased usage of natural gas. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions in the European Union have decreased by 3% to 7.5 t/capita.
Emissions from OECD countries have decreased and presently account for a third of the total global emissions. Economic growth in steel and cement production in China has led to an increase in consumption of fossil fuel, accounting for its increasing emissions.
Global CO2 emissions saw a decrease in 2008, which later surged by 5% in 2010. The major global contributors of CO2 emissions are China with 29%, the USA with 16%, the European Union with 11%, and followed by India with 6%, the Russian Federation with 5% and Japan with 4%.
Deforestation and other human activities in 2000 and 2011 account for 420 billion t of CO2 globally. Only when the cumulative CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2050 are restricted to less than 1,500 billion t it may be possible to limit the increase in global warming. However, if the current trend of CO2 emissions continues then it will cross the limit over the next 20 years.
On the other hand, the increase in use of solar and wind energy, biofuels and other renewable energy supplies has quadrupled, and accounts for around 0.8 billion t of CO2 emissions which have been avoided.