Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion set record in 2011

November 23rd, 2012 by International Economic Platform for Renewable Energies

Chimneys of a coal-fired power station in the Netherlands (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion reached a record level in 2011.

At 34 billion metric tons (2010: about 33.2 billion metric tons), more carbon dioxide from fossil energy carriers was emitted into the atmosphere than ever before, according to International Economic Platform for Renewable Energies (IWR), a German renewable energy institute in Muenster.

After the decline in emissions in 2009 as a consequence of the global economic and financial crisis, annual CO2 emissions returned to the growth path seen in recent years.

“If the current trend persists, by 2020 global CO2 emissions will then increase by a further 20% to over 40 billion metric tons of CO2,” said Dr. Norbert Allnoch, IWR Director.

By comparison, in 1990 just 22.7 billion metric tons of CO2 were emitted worldwide.

China comes highest in the CO2 ranking of countries with 8.9 billion metric tons of CO2 emitted in 2011 compared to 8.3 billion mt in 2010.

The USA is the second largest CO2 emitter on a national basis, producing 6.0 billion metric tons in 2011, compared to 6.2 billion mt in 2010.

India is the third largest CO2 emitter, producing 1.8 billion metric tons (1.7 billion mt in 2010), and Russia is fourth largest emitter, producing 1.67 billion metric tons ( 1.7 billion mt in 2010).

Japan is fourth largest emitter producing 1.3 billion metric tons in both 2011 and 2010.

Germany ranks 6th with 804 million mt in 2011, which is a decline from the 828 million mt produced in 2010.

Among the top ten largest emitters, the USA, Russia and Germany reduced their CO2 emissions in comparison to the previous year.

The UK was the 11th largest emitter of CO2.

Countries are ranked by CO2 emissions on the CO2 Emissions and Renewable Investment Action (CERINA) plan website.

In light of the Kyoto Protocol, the IWR is of the opinion that the model approach involving the agreement of CO2 thresholds is not working.

Nations with high CO2 emissions are being pilloried and politicians are concerned with the economy and competitiveness of their own country.

“We need an economically friendly approach to investment and not a limitation model, which is clearly not being accepted,” Dr Allnoch said.

The IWR is proposing the implementation of the CERINA plan in order to slow down the further increase in global carbon emissions.

This plan provides for CO2 emissions in the individual states to be linked to investments in climate-friendly plant technologies, such as renewable forms of energy.

The higher the CO2 emissions, the greater the investment in climate protection.

Under the CERINA plan, climate protection can be achieved through cuts in emissions or by increasing investment.


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