John D drew my attention to RenewEconomy’s Graph of the Day: Nine simple charts to explain the global carbon budget. The post was originally published at Shrink That Footprint. There’s been next to no discussion at either place, but in my experience site stats show that a lack of comments doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of readers.
The graphs all come from the Global Carbon Project’s Carbon Budget 2013, which you can download here.
Here’s my version of the story in eight slides.
Please note that CO2 emissions are quoted as gigatonnes of carbon. Each GtC = 3.664 GtCO2.
1. Carbon emissions are still rising
In 2012-13 carbon emissions from fossil fuels and cement rose by 2.1% as against 2.2% in 2011-12.
2. Emissions from coal continue to grow strongly
Emissions from coal grew at 2.8% as against gas and cement at 2.5% and oil at 1.2%.
Shares of fossil fuel emissions are now coal 43%, oil 33%, gas 18% and cement 5%. Flaring at 1% is not shown.
3. Emissions in China and India are growing strongly
Emissions in China grew by 5.9%, in India by 7.7%.
Four emitters accounted for 58% of global emissions in 2012. China accounted for 27%, the US 14%, the EU28 10% and India 6%.
Also not shown on the graph, Japan’s emissions grew by 6.9% and Germany’s by 1.8%, no doubt associated with the phase-out of nuclear.
4. China, Japan and India are the biggest contributors to emissions growth.
China comes in at 71%, Japan at 21% and India at 11%.
5. In per capita emissions, China is growing rapidly
China is growing rapidly while the US is declining fast.
China is set to pass the EU in per capita emissions.
6. Historical cumulative emissions by country are changing rapidly
China (11%), India (4%) and the ‘rest of the world’ (36%) are increasing rapidly as against declines in the US (26%) and the EU (23%).
7. The GFC had minimal long term effect on emissions growth, while improvements in carbon intensity have almost flatlined in the last five years
The global financial crisis had no discernible long term effect while carbon intensity after improving consistently over the decades has virtually flatlined in the last five years.
This is almost certainly due in the main to the increasing use of coal in developing and transitional economies.
The overall trend is one of doom. We are perhaps moving from the completely suicidal as a civilisation to the chance of only being catastrophic. More gloom can be extracted from the complete set of Global Carbon Project slides, but the above will do for now.
One of the reasons I haven’t got to reporting on the UNFCCC talks in Warsaw is that they have shown no signs of addressing the real situation.
All countries need to do better, but an overview on how things are going is shown in this graph.
While targets are essentially voluntary and not part of an overall plan which drives firmly towards the targets science indicates are needed for a safe climate, I think we’ll flounder and waste crucial time.
Update: I’ve altered item 1 above as per Bernard J @ 4.