Global CO2 emissions stalled for the third year in a row

October 20, 2017, European Commission Joint Research Centre

The annual assessment of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the JRC and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) confirms that CO2 emissions have stalled for the third year in a row.

The report provides updated results on the continuous monitoring of the three main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and (N2O).

Global GHG emissions continue to be dominated by fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which however show a slowdown trend since 2012, and were stalled for the third year in a row in 2016.

Russia, China, the US and Japan further decreased their CO2 emissions from 2015 to 2016, while the EU's emissions remained stable with respect to the previous year, and India's emissions continued to increase.

-Other greenhouse gases keep creeping up

Information on the other two greenhouse gases, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), is only available until 2012, as international statistics on agricultural activities - the main source of these emissions - are not updated as frequently as on energy and industry-related activities.

Uncertainty is also higher for these emissions than for CO2 emissions.

However, the data until 2012 shows a steady increase in global GHG emissions, with an overall increase of 91% from 1970 to 2012.

CH4 is mainly generated by agricultural activities, the production of coal and gas, as well as waste treatment and disposal. N2O is mainly emitted by agricultural soil activities and chemical production.

In the EU, 60% of the CH4 and N2O emissions are emitted by the top six emitting countries - Germany, UK, France, Poland, Italy and Spain.

The upward trend in CH4 and N2O emissions is also visible in the US, China, Japan and India which all recorded increasing GHG emissions.

Europe's downward trend stalling

Over the past two decades, the EU28 has steadily decreased its CO2 emissions, which still represent two thirds of the EU's total .

In 2016, the EU's CO2 emissions were 20.8% below the levels in 1990 and 17.9% below the levels in 2005. Since 2015, the EU's CO2 emissions have stabilised, representing 9.6% of .

-Country profiles

The report is based on the JRC's Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), which is not only unique in its space and time coverage, but also in its completeness and consistency of the emissions compilations for multiple pollutants: the (GHG), air pollutants and aerosols.

The new report contains country-specific fact sheets for 216 countries. The factsheets show the evolution of country-level CO2 emissions from 1990 to 2016 and the evolution of country-level GHG emissions from 1970 to 2012.

Explore further: Little growth observed in India's methane emissions

Related Stories

Little growth observed in India's methane emissions

October 10, 2017

Methane is the second most powerful greenhouse gas and concentrations are rising in the atmosphere. Because of its potency and quick decay in the atmosphere, countries have recognised that reduction of methane emissions are ...

An overlooked source of carbon emissions

November 2, 2016

Nations that pledged to carry out the Paris climate agreement have moved forward to find practical ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including efforts to ban hydrofluorocarbons and set stricter fuel-efficiency standards. ...

Recommended for you

Evidence of earliest life on Earth disputed

October 17, 2018

When Australian scientists presented evidence in 2016 of life on Earth 3.7 billon years ago—pushing the record back 220 million years—it was a big deal, influencing even the search for life on Mars.

Arctic greening thaws permafrost, boosts runoff

October 17, 2018

A new collaborative study has investigated Arctic shrub-snow interactions to obtain a better understanding of the far north's tundra and vast permafrost system. Incorporating extensive in situ observations, Los Alamos National ...

Arctic ice sets speed limit for major ocean current

October 17, 2018

The Beaufort Gyre is an enormous, 600-mile-wide pool of swirling cold, fresh water in the Arctic Ocean, just north of Alaska and Canada. In the winter, this current is covered by a thick cap of ice. Each summer, as the ice ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

coahoma3
not rated yet Oct 30, 2017

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.