Global carbon dioxide emissions at all-time high: Study

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London | Published: December 18, 2014 7:12:22 PM

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reached an all-time high in 2013.

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reached an all-time high in 2013, mainly due to continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies, including India, a new report says.

However, emissions increased at a notably slower rate (2 per cent) than on average in the last ten years (3.8 per cent per year since 2003).

This slowdown, which began in 2012, signals a further decoupling of global emissions and economic growth, which reflects mainly the lower emissions growth rate of China.

China, the US and the EU remain the top-3 emitters of CO2, accounting for respectively 29 per cent, 15 per cent and 11 per cent of the world’s total.

After years of a steady decline, the CO2 emissions of the US grew by 2.5 per cent in 2013, whereas in the EU emissions continued to decrease, by 1.4 per cent in 2013.

These are the main findings in the annual report ‘Trends in global CO2 emissions’, released by Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

In 2013, global CO2 emissions grew to the new record of 35.3 billion tonnes. Sharp risers include Brazil (+ 6.2 per cent), India (+ 4.4 per cent), China (+ 4.2 per cent) and Indonesia (+ 2.3 per cent).

The much lower emissions increase in China of 4.2 per cent in 2013 and 3.4 per cent in 2012 was primarily due to a decline in electricity and fuel demand from the basic materials industry, and aided by an increase in renewable energy and by energy efficiency improvements.

The emissions increase in the US in 2013 (+ 2.5 per cent) was mainly due to a shift in power production from gas back to coal together with an increase in gas consumption due to a higher demand for space heating, the report said.

“With the present annual growth rate, China has returned to the lower annual growth rates that it experienced before its economic growth started to accelerate in 2003, when its annual CO2 emissions increased on average by 12 per cent per year,” according to the report.

In 2013, the Chinese per capita CO2 level of 7.4 tonnes CO2/cap just exceeded the mean EU28 level of 7.3 tonnes CO2/cap, which is 50 per cent above the global average.

It is still less than half than those of the US of 16.6 tonnes CO2/cap, which has one of the highest per capita emissions, the report said.

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