Nav: Home

Global CO2 emissions projected to stall in 2015

December 07, 2015

Global carbon emissions are projected to stall in 2015, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Global Carbon Project.

Last year global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry grew by just 0.6 per cent -- marking a year-on-year slow down. The projection for 2015 reveals a second year of slow growth or even a small decrease in global emissions.

The study is published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, with detailed data made available simultaneously in the journal Earth System Science Data.

The research reveals that emissions could decline by 0.6 per cent this year. While declines in emissions have previously occurred during periods of economic crisis, this would be the first decline during a period of strong global economic growth.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, Director of the Tyndall Centre at UEA who led the data analysis, said: "These figures are certainly not typical of the growth trajectory seen since 2000 -- where the annual growth in emissions was between 2 and 3 percent.

"What we are now seeing is that emissions appear to have stalled, and they could even decline slightly in 2015.

"But it is important to remember that our projection for 2015 is an estimate and there will always be a range of uncertainty. In this case, the 2015 projection ranges from a global decline in emissions of up to 1.5 per cent -- or at the other end of the spectrum, a small rise of 0.5 per cent."

The projection for 2015 is based on available energy consumption data in China and the US, and on forecast economic growth for the rest of the world.

Prof Le Quéré said: "The projected decline is largely down to China's decreased coal use, driven by its economic adjustment.

"Whether a slower growth in global emissions will be sustained depends on the use of coal in China and elsewhere, and where new energy will come from. In 2014, more than half of new energy needs in China were met from renewable sources such as hydro, nuclear, wind, and solar power."

The research shows the biggest contributors to global emissions in 2014 were China (27 percent), the United States (15 percent), the European Union (10 percent), and India (7 percent).

Prof Robert Jackson of Stanford University who led the Nature Climate Change Commentary, said: "We saw slower global growth in petroleum in 2014 and faster growth in renewables. Wind and solar capacities saw record increases in capacity last year and are on track to be even higher in 2015."

Prof Le Quéré added: "With two years of untypical emissions growth, it looks like the trajectory of global emissions might have changed temporarily. It is unlikely that emissions have peaked for good. This is because energy needs for growing economies still rely primarily on coal, and emissions decreases in some industrial countries are still modest at best.

"Global emissions need to decrease to near zero to achieve climate stabilisation. We are still emitting massive amounts of CO2 annually - around 36 billion tonnes from fossil fuels and industry alone. There is a long way to near zero emissions.

"Today's news is encouraging, but world leaders at COP21 need to agree on the substantial emission reductions needed to keep warming below two degrees Celsius.

"And despite the slowing of CO2 emissions globally, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has now reached 400 parts per million, its highest level in at least 800,000 years."
-end-
'Reaching Peak Emissions' is published in Nature Climate Change on Dec. 7, 2015.

'Global Carbon Budget 2015' is published in Earth System Science Data.

HEADLINE STATS BY COUNTRY

CHINA

China was the biggest emitter of CO2 in 2014, releasing 9.7 billion tonnes (27 per cent of the world total).

Emissions from china will strongly influence the global emissions over the next decade.

After rising 6.7 per cent per year for the previous decade, China's emissions growth slowed to 1.2 per cent in 2014 and is expected to decrease in 2015.

China's decreased coal use largely accounts for the break in global emissions growth in 2014 and 2015.

China, the world's largest wind-energy producer, installed 23 GW of new wind capacity last year alone.

China's emissions per capita are 7.1 tonnes - compared to 17.4 tonnes per capita in the US, 6.8 tonnes per capita in the EU, and 2.0 tonnes per capita in India.

US

The US was the second biggest emitter of CO2 in 2014, releasing 5.6 billion tonnes (15 per cent of the world total).

Emissions in the US have declined by 1.4 per cent annually over the last decade. This decline is projected to continue through 2015.

The US produces 17.4 tonnes of CO2 per capita each year.

EU

The EU was the third biggest emitter of CO2 in 2014, releasing 3.4 billion tonnes (10 per cent of the world total).

The EU is the region with the strongest decline in emissions - averaging 2.4 per cent per year in the past decade.

The decline in emissions in the EU of 210 MtCO2 in 2014 was the same size as the increase in emissions in India of 205 MtCO2.

Although outsourcing of emissions to emerging economies played a substantive role in early reductions, emissions transfers via trade from the EU to China and elsewhere have declined since 2007.

The EU produces 6.8 tonnes of CO2 per capita each year.

INDIA

India was the fourth biggest emitter of CO2 in 2014, releasing 2.6 billion tonnes (7.2 per cent of the world total).

India's emissions today match those of China in 1990.

The increase in emissions in India of 205 MtCO2 was the same size as the decline in emissions in the EU of 210 MtCO2 in 2014.

Per capita emissions continue to be well below the global average at 2.0 tonnes of CO2 each year.

India's challenge is the need to provide 1.3 billion people with greater access to energy.

If present trends persist, India's emissions will match those of the EU in 2-3 years.

For global CO2 emissions to peak and decline quickly, part of India's new energy needs must come from low-carbon technologies.

UK

The UK released 0.43 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2014 (1.2 per cent of the world total).

UK emissions decreased by 9 per cent in 2014 and are now 28 per cent below 1990 levels. Emissions from the consumption of goods and services produced elsewhere has started to decrease, after rising during the period 1990-2007.

University of East Anglia

Related Emissions Articles:

Tracking fossil fuel emissions with carbon-14
Researchers from NOAA and the University of Colorado have devised a breakthrough method for estimating national emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels using ambient air samples and a well-known isotope of carbon that scientists have relied on for decades to date archaeological sites.
COVID-19 puts brakes on global emissions
Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel sources reached a maximum daily decline of 17 per cent in April as a result of drastic decline in energy demand that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Egregious emissions
Call them 'super polluters' -- the handful of industrial facilities that emit unusually high levels of toxic chemical pollution year after year.
Continued CO2 emissions will impair cognition
New CU Boulder research finds that an anticipated rise in carbon dioxide concentrations in our indoor living and working spaces by the year 2100 could lead to impaired human cognition.
Major new study charts course to net zero industrial emissions
A major new study by an interdisciplinary team of researchers finds that it is possible -- and critical -- to bring industrial greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2070.
Capturing CO2 from trucks and reducing their emissions by 90%
Researchers at EPFL have patented a new concept that could cut trucks' CO2 emissions by almost 90%.
Big trucks, little emissions
Researchers reveal a new integrated, cost-efficient way of converting ethanol for fuel blends that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Uncertainty in emissions estimates in the spotlight
National or other emissions inventories of greenhouse gases that are used to develop strategies and track progress in terms of emissions reductions for climate mitigation contain a certain amount of uncertainty, which inevitably has an impact on the decisions they inform.
How buildings can cut 80% of their carbon emissions by 2050
Energy use in buildings -- from heating and cooling your home to keeping the lights on in the office -- is responsible for over one-third of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States.
Fracking likely to result in high emissions
Natural gas releases fewer greenhouse gases than other fossil fuels.
More Emissions News and Emissions Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Processing The Pandemic
Between the pandemic and America's reckoning with racism and police brutality, many of us are anxious, angry, and depressed. This hour, TED Fellow and writer Laurel Braitman helps us process it all.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Invisible Allies
As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they've come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe's biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.