Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions on Rise

Global carbon dioxide emissions reached an all-time high of34 billion tons last year, marking a rise of 3 per cent from a year ago.

China was the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gas emissions as it emitted almost twice as much greenhouse gases as the U.S.A., with its average emissions of carbon dioxide rising 9 per cent to 7.2 tons per capita. The world's most populous country now falls within the range of 6 to 19 tons per capita emissions of the major industrialized countries. Meanwhile across the European Union, emissions of carbon dioxide declined 3 per cent to 7.5 tons per capita, while those in the U.S.A. fell to 17.3 tons per capita, which can be attributed to a continued recession, and an increase in the use of natural gas.

According to the report, which has been based on recent results from the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) and recent figures on energy use and relevant activities like cement production and gas flaring, the global emissions of carbon dioxide continued to surge last year, in spite of reductions in OECD nations.

Carbon dioxide emissions fell 3 per cent in European Union and 2 per cent in both Japan and the U.S.A., owing to weak conditions of economies, a mild winter, and less consumption because of high oil prices. Emissions from OECD countries only contributed to one-third of global CO2 emissions, which was equal to the share of China and India together- where emissions rose 9 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively. Fossil fuel consumption in China grew in the wake of economic growth, especially due to construction and the expansion of infrastructure. Increase in cement and steel production led to the domestic consumption of coal in China to leap 9.7 per cent.

The 3 per cent rise in global emissions of carbon dioxide over the past year is ahead of the 2.7 per cent average annual rise over the last decade; with a decrease in 2008 and an increase of 5 per cent in 2010. The top carbon dioxide emitting nations contributing to the 34 billion tons of CO2 emitted globally last year are- 29 per cent by China; 16 per cent of the U.S.A.; 11 per cent by the European European Union; 6 per cent by India; 5 per cent by the Russian Federation; and 4 per cent by Japan.

From 2010 to 2011, an estimated cumulative global total of 420 billion tons of CO2 were emitted, contributed by human activities, like deforestation. Experts suggest that restricting the rise in average global temperature to the target sought by United Nations of 2°C above pre-industrial levels can only be achieved if cumulative carbon dioxide emissions in the period 2000–2050 are not above 1,000 to 1,500 billion tons. Cumulative emissions will exceed the limit over the next two decades if the current global trend of increasing carbon dioxide emissions continues down the same path.

The rise in carbon dioxide emissions is being dealt with across developed nations with the increased use of renewable energy supplies, such as bio-fuels and solar power. The global share of these so-called modern renewable sources of energy, which exclude hydro-power, is increasing at an accelerated pace in the presence of government subsidies, as it stepped up four times from 1992 to 2011. This accounts for almost 0.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions that has been successfully avoided, because of the use of renewable energy sources last year, which is of the order of total emissions by Germany in 2011.