first time in 40 years that annual CO2 emissions growth has remained stable

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. In 2013, CO2 accounted for about 82% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Carbon dioxide is naturally present in the atmosphere as part of the Earth’s carbon cycle (the natural circulation of carbon among the atmosphere, oceans, soil, plants, and animals). Human activities are altering the carbon cycle—both by adding more CO2 to the atmosphere and by influencing the ability of natural sinks, like forests, to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. While CO2 emissions come from a variety of natural sources, human-related emissions are responsible for the increase that has occurred in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. [1]

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions, By Source

Pie chart that shows emissions by use. 37 percent is electricity, 31 percent is transportation, 15 percent is industry, 10 percent is residential and commercial, and 6 percent is other (non-fossil fuel combustion).

Note: All emission estimates from the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2013.

The main human activity that emits CO2 is the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation, although certain industrial processes and land-use changes also emit CO2. The main sources of CO2 emissions in the United States are described below.

Global CO2 emissions ‘stalled’ in 2014

  • 13 March 2015

The growth in global carbon emissions stalled last year, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

It marks the first time in 40 years that annual CO2 emissions growth has remained stable, in the absence of a major economic crisis, the agency said.

Annual global emissions remained at 32 gigatonnes in 2014, unchanged from the previous year.

Analysts attribute the slowdown in emissions to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and OECD countries.

Prof Corinne Le Quere, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, said: “An important factor could be that China’s coal consumption fell in 2014, driven by their efforts to fight pollution, use energy more efficiently and deploy renewables.

The IEA basically tracks CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil carbon for producing energy. The “stall” referred to in the press is a “stall” in this component, which is about 69% of human CO2 emissions. In total, we should expect to learn that CO2 emissions increased in 2014 over the prior year, but the percentage increase should be a little lower. Looking at the top emitters, we see that Chinese emissions decreased about 2% from 2013 to 2014, while USA emissions increased 0.7%  from 2013 to 2014 (compare this with the 2.5% increase from 2012 to 2013). You might want to read the free IEA report CO2EmissionsFromFuelCombustionHighlights2014.pdf (~1.7 MBytes, 136 pages) and/or get the file CO2_Emissions_From_Fuel_Combustion_Highlights_2014.XLS (~2.9 MBytes) with the tables in data form (do your own analyses). Both can be downloaded at…. The published report with lots of data on 140 countries goes through the year 2012.

The point is that we really need reductions in CO2 emissions approaching 10% per year. From this standpoint, we have no “good news” in a non-increase if CO2 emissions from fossil carbon combustion. We really need to reach ZERO CO2 emissions from fossil carbon as soon as possible (actually sooner than possible).

Read the little paper by Spratt and Dunlop, October 2014, entitled “Dangerous Climate Warming: Myth, reality and risk management“?

Take a look at a short interview with Jeffrey Sachs on decarbonization here:

And the full report on Deep Decarbonization Pathways, presented at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in 2014 here:

The raw data from MLO can be found on the Scripps Institute website.  Only 29 of 34 nation states of the OECD reports to the IEA.  The IEA only monitors FFs for the production of (mostly) electricity and doesn’t keep track of private industry.

In the IEA Excel spreadsheet (available from…; this published report has lots of data on 140 countries through the year 2012), for the People’s Rep. of China, for example, we have 824.7 million tonnes of CO2 in 1971 growing to 8,205.9 million tonnes in 2012 (to see the Chinese emissions reported by the IEA for the years 1972 through 2011, download the spreadsheet). These numbers do not include Hong Kong, which is also reported as well as the total for China including Hong Kong.

It is true that the IEA reports emissions from fuel consumption, but it does include industry. Another factor that should be considered is what fraction of manufacturing industries CO2 emissions in China are exported as “embedded carbon” to OECD countries.


About arnulfo

veterano del ciberespacio
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