Global CO2 emissions reach record high, warns IEA

Posted at May 28, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Global CO2 emissions reach record high, warns IEA

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use rose to a record high of 31.6 Gt in 2011, according to preliminary estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The increase represents growth of 1 Gt or 3.2% on the previous year, with coal accounting for 45% of energy-related emissions, followed by oil (35%) and gas (20%).

To have a 50% chance of limiting average global temperature rises to 2°C, the IEA estimates that CO2 emissions need to peak at 32.6 Gt no later than 2017.

At the current rate of increase, that peak will be reached in 2013.
“The new data provide further evidence that the door to a 2°C trajectory is about to close,” says IEA chief economist Fatih Birol.

While 2011 says OECD CO2 emissions down 0.6% this was more than offset by a 6.1% increase outside the OECD region led by China with a 9.3% jump in emission primarily the result of higher coal consumption.

But China’s carbon intensity – the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of GDP – fell by 15% between 2005 and 2011.

The IEA is hailing the country’s efforts on improving energy efficiency and deploying clean energy, without which China’s emissions would have been 1.5 Gt higher in 2011.

India is now the fourth largest emitter ahead of Russia but still behind China, the US, the European Union.

The US saw its emissions down 1.7% in 2011 and has clocked up a 7.7% decrease since 2006 – the largest reduction across all countries or regions, according to the IEA.

Meanwhile, EU emissions were down 1.9% in 2011, mainly thanks to the sluggish economy and greater use of gas.

But emissions in Japan were up 2.4% as the country switches back to fossil fuels as its nuclear power stations close.

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Related stories:
Clean energy is not being deployed quickly enough, warns IEA (25-Apr)
World oil supplies beyond tipping point, says Sir David King (26-Jan)
Subsidising fossil fuels costs twice as much as renewables (24-Jan)
Global CO2 emissions reach record levels (05-Dec 2011)

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