Global CO2 emissions will be over 40 billion tonnes in 2014 and are 58% higher than in 1990 which is the base year of the Kyoto Protocol

Carbon dioxide emissions, the main contributor to global warming, are set to rise 2.5% in 2014 – reaching a record high of 40 billion tonnes.

Key facts and figures:

* CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuel are projected to rise by 2.5 per cent in 2014 – 65 per cent above 1990 levels, the reference year for the Kyoto Protocol – China, the USA, the EU and India are the largest emitters – together accounting for 58 per cent of emissions.

* China’s CO2 emissions grew by 4.2 per cent in 2013, the USA’s grew by 2.9 per cent, and India’s emissions grew by 5.1 per cent.

* The EU has decreased its emissions by 1.8 per cent, though it continues to export a third of its emissions to China and other producers through imported goods and services.

* China’s CO2 emissions per person overtook emissions in the EU for the first time in 2013. China’s emissions are now larger than the US and EU combined. 16 per cent of China’s emissions are for goods and services which are exported elsewhere.

*CO2 emissions are caused primarily by burning fossil fuels, as well as by cement production and deforestation. Deforestation accounts for 8 per cent of CO2 emissions.

* Historical and future CO2 emissions must remain below a total 3,200 billion tonnes to be in with a 66 per cent chance of keeping climate change below 2°C. But two thirds (2,000 billion tonnes) of this quota have already been used.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production increased by 2.3% in 2013, with a total of 9.9±0.5 GtC (billion tonnes of carbon) (36 GtCO2) emitted to the atmosphere, 61% above 1990 emissions (the Kyoto Protocol reference year). Emissions are projected to increase by a further 2.5% in 2014. In 2013, the ocean and land carbon sinks respectively removed 27% and 23% of total CO2 (fossil fuel and land use change), leaving 50% of emissions into the atmosphere. The ocean sink in 2013 was 2.9±0.5 GtC, slightly above the 2004-2013 average of 2.6±0.5, and the land sink was 2.5±0.9 GtC slightly below the 2004-2013 average of 2.9±0.8. Total cumulative emissions from 1870 to 2013 were 390±20 GtC from fossil fuels and cement, and 145± 50 from land use change. The total of 535±55GtC was partitioned among the atmosphere (225±5 GtC), ocean (150±20 GtC), and the land (155±60 GtC).

The growth of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2013 was 3.3%. The fossil fuel carbon intensity of the economy declined (improved) by -1.0%yr-1. The 2014 projection of 2.5% growth is based on the world GDP projection of 3.3% made by the International Monetary Fund and our estimate of improvements in the fossil intensity of the economy of -0.7%.

In 2013, global CO2 emissions were dominated by emissions from China (28%), the USA (14%), the EU (28 member states; 10%) and India (7%). Growth rates of these countries from 2012 to 2013 were 4.2% for China, 2.9% for the USA, −1.8% for the EU28, and 5.1% for India. The per-capita CO2 emissions in 2013 were 1.4 tonnes of carbon person-1yr-1 (5.1 tCO2) for the globe, 4.5 (16.4 tCO2) for the USA, 2.0 (7.2 tCO2) for China, 1.9 (6.8 tCO2) for the EU28, and 0.5 (1.9 tCO2) for India.

Of the total emissions from human activities during the period 2004-2013, about 44% accumulated in the atmosphere, 26% in the ocean and 30% on land. During this period, the size of the natural sinks has grown in response to the increasing emissions, although year-to-year variability of that growth is large.

The ocean sink is estimated by using observations for the period 1990-2000, and an ensemble of seven global ocean biogeochemistry models for the trend and variability. The models were normalized to the observed mean ocean sinks for the 1990s. Models were forced with meteorological data from the US national Centers for Environmental Prediction and atmospheric CO2 concentration. In addition, three observation-based estimates of the ocean sink were used to provide a qualitative assessment of confidence. In 2013 the ocean sink is estimated to have removed 29% of total (fossil fuel plus net land-use change) CO2 emissions.

The land sink is calculated as the residual of the sum of all sources minus the sum of the atmosphere and ocean sinks. An independent estimate of the consistency of the residual land sink is obtained by estimating the land sink from 10 dynamic global vegetation models. In 2013 the land sink is estimated to have removed 23% of total (fossil fuel plus net land use change) CO2 emissions.

China released its climate change goals for 2020

China has pledged to reduce its carbon emission intensity, namely emissions per unit of GDP, by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level. It will also aim to bring the proportion of non-fossil fuels to about 15 percent of its total primary energy consumption. By the end of last year, China had reduced carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 28.56 percent from 2005, which was equivalent to saving the world 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, Xie said.

NBF – China is targeting to reduce emissions per unit of GDP by 12-17%. If China increases GDP by 7% per year then GDP would increase by 50% from 2015 to 2020. Achieving 17% reduction would still mean 33% more emissions or about 4 billion tons of carbon or 14.7 billion tons of CO2. CO2 weighs 3.67 time more than carbon.

At the end of 2013, China’s consumption ratio of non-fossil energy to primary energy stood at 9.8 percent. Forest growing stock had increased by 1.3 trillion cubic meters from 2005 to two trillion cubic meters, seven years ahead of schedule, according to the official.

In the first nine months of 2014, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 4.2 percent year on year and carbon intensity was cut by about 5 percent, both representing the largest drops in years, he said.

Other targets include increasing forest coverage by 40 million hectares within the next five years.

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