The world in carbon dioxide emissions

Posted on February 3, 2011 by


The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently published the data of carbon emissions across the globe for the years 2008 and 2009. This data has been very systematically represented in the form of “An atlas of pollution: the world in carbon dioxide emissions”.

As has been discussed earlier, India did overtake Russia to occupy third place as a country in carbon emissions. But one aspect that never get enough attention is the fact that India is a distant third at 1602 million tonnes behind 7711 million tonnes of carbon emissions of China and 5425 million tonnes of USA. This implies a 5.2% of world emissions for housing staggering 16% of world population!

There are mixed signals in the overall statistics. It is essential to be careful in understanding the implication of each number, for ex. India being on rank 3. Coming to the statistics –

  1. The overall world CO2 emissions have gone down. Well – there is 0.1% reduction from 2008 to 2009. How much of this is to be attributed to gains in efficiency and how much to the global economic gloom is left to the judgment.
  2. As expected, Asia and Oceania have grown in emissions by 7.5%, while both Europe and US are down by 6.9%.
  3. Eurasia CO2 emissions have dropped by 9.2%. This is driven by decline in Russia’s emissions by 7.4% and a whopping drop of 28% in Ukraine’s emissions. None of these reductions appear to be driven by efficiency, at least from the first look.
  4. The bad news is that Africa’s emissions (hardly any!) have dropped by 3.1%. This is bound to be a disturbing sign for the poorest continent, in need of development.
  5. The middle east, being saturated with fossil fuels has no reasons to switch to renewables or more efficienct means. The emissions there have risen by 3.3%.
  6. Some staggering numbers – US’s emissions at 5425 have fallen by 7.5% from the emissions in the year 2000 and China’a emissions at 7711 million tonnes have grown by 170.6% since the year 2000.

It will be interesting to see the statistics in their next edition and make sense of the economics-carbon emissions and energy efficiency/renewable energy holds true.

Till then, have a look at the well made carbon emissions atlas here

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Posted in: Carbon Markets