PARIS – After a 1-percent decline in 2009 and an unprecedented 5-percent surge in 2010, global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) increased by 3 percent in 2011, to 34 billion tons, according to the annual report 'Trends in global CO2 emissions" by the European Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).
The 3-percent increase in global CO2 emissions in 2011 is above the past decade's average annual increase of 2.7 percent, outlined JRC in its latest report. The top emitters contributing to the 34 billion tones of CO2 emitted globally in 2011 are: China (29 percent), the United States (16 percent), the European Union (11 percent), India (6 percent), the Russian Federation (5 percent) and Japan (4 percent).
In Europe, CO2 emissions decreased by 3 percent, to 3.8 billion tones, and in the United States by 2 percent, to 5.4 billion tones, in 2011.
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CO2 emissions per country from fossil fuel use and cement production
In Japan, CO2
emissions also declined by 2 percent, to 1.2 billion tones, in 2011, whereas CO2
emissions increased, for example, by 8 percent in Australia, by 2 percent in Canada, and by 3 percent in Russia, JRC noted.
In China, the world’s most populous country, CO2
emissions jumped 9 percent, to 9.7 billion tones. This increase, the report specified, is in line with the increase in thermal power generation of 14.7 percent (mostly in coal-fired power stations), in steel production of 7.3 percent (also a large coal user) and in cement production of 10.8 percent reported by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.
In India, the report indicated that CO2
emissions continued to increase in 2011 by 6 percent, to 2.0 billion tones. India is the fourth largest CO2
emitting country, following the EU27, and well ahead of Russia, which is the fifth largest.
Although emissions in China and other developing countries have grown very rapidly, in recent years, the picture is different for CO2
emissions per capita and per unit of GDP. Since 1990, in China, CO2
emissions per capita increased from 2.2 to 7.2 tones, while they decreased in Europe from 9.2 to 7.5 tones per capita and in the United States from 19.7 to 17.3 tones per capita.
In 2011, the report specified that China’s average per capita CO2
emissions increased by 9 percent, to 7.2 tones. Taking into account an uncertainty margin of 10 percent, this equals the European Union’s 2011 per capita emissions of 7.5 tones.
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CO2 emissions per capita from fossil fuel use and cement production
An estimated cumulative global total of 420 billion tones of CO2
were emitted between 2000 and 2011 due to human activities, including deforestation, the report noted.
This is being mitigated by the expansion of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy and biofuels. Although still very small, the global share of these renewables quadrupled from 1992 to 2011. According to JRC, this potentially represents about 0.8 billion tones of avoided CO2
emissions in 2011 that would have been globally emitted from fossil fuel power generation and road transport. This is close to Germany's total CO2
emissions in 2011.