Global CO2 Emissions Reach All-Time High, Rising More Than 5% in 2010 to Close Out Past 20 Years
Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reached an all-time high in 2010, rising 45% in the past 20 years. Rising rapidly between 1990 and 2010, global atmospheric CO2 levels totaled 33 billion metric tons last year, according to a report published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Global CO2 emissions fell 1% in 2009, during the Great Recession, but rose at an unprecedented 5% rate in 2010. That was similar to the drop and greater emissions growth in 1975 and 1976, when the global economy suffered through the first oil crisis, a subsequent stock market crash and began a recovery in 1976, the report authors note.
Total CO2 emissions in industrialized nations that ratified the Kyoto Protocol and the US, which didn’t, were some 7.5% less in 2010 than they were in 1990, leaving them on-track to meet the 5.2% reduction targets required by the climate treaty.
Industrialized nations’ share of global CO2 emissions has been dropping. Rapid industrialization in large emerging market economies, such as China, India and Brazil, led to industrialized countries overall contribution to global CO2 emissions dropping to less than half the total amount from two-thirds over the two decade period.
Since 1990, CO2 emissions per capita have increased in China from 2.2 to 6.8 metric tons per capita and decreased in the EU-27 from 9.2 to 8.1 metric tons per capita (in EU-15 from 9.1 to 7.9) and from 19.7 to 16.9 metric tons per capita in the USA, according to the report.
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