2014 Global Carbon Budget released
Fossil fuel CO2 emissions are projected to increase 2.5% in 2014, according to the 2014 Global Carbon Budget, published today by the Global Carbon Project.
This latest annual update of the Global Carbon Budget shows that total future CO2 emissions cannot exceed 1,200 billion tonnes to be in with a likely 66 per cent chance of keeping average global warming under 2°C (since pre-industrial times). At the current rate of CO2 emissions, this 1,200 billion tonne CO2 ‘quota’ would be used up in around 30 years. This means that there is just one generation before the safeguards to a 2°C limit may be breached.
The international team of scientists involved in the Global Carbon Project say that to avoid this, more than half of all fossil fuel reserves may need to be left unexploited. The report is published on the eve of the UN Climate Summit, intended to galvanise climate action.
Professor Corinne Le Quéré, Future Earth Science Committee member and Director of the Tyndall Centre at the University of East Anglia, UK, said:
“The human influence on climate change is clear. We need substantial and sustained reductions in CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels if we are to limit global climate change. We are nowhere near the commitments necessary to stay below 2°C of climate change, a level that will be already challenging to manage for most countries around the world, even for rich nations. Politicians meeting in New York need to think very carefully about their diminishing choices exposed by climate science.”
The annual Global Carbon Budget includes a projection for 2014, as well as figures for 2013 by country and per capita. It is accompanied by a series of papers in Nature Climate Change, Nature Geoscience and Earth System Science Data Discussions.
Key facts and figures:
- CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuel are projected to rise by 2.5 per cent in 2014 – 65 per cent above 1990 levels, the reference year for the Kyoto Protocol – China, the USA, the EU and India are the largest emitters – together accounting for 58 per cent of emissions.
- China’s CO2 emissions grew by 4.2 per cent in 2013, the USA’s grew by 2.9 per cent, and India’s emissions grew by 5.1 per cent.
- The EU has decreased its emissions by 1.8 per cent, though it continues to export a third of its emissions to China and other producers through imported goods and services.
- China’s CO2 emissions per person overtook emissions in the EU for the first time in 2013. China’s emissions are now larger than the US and EU combined. 16 per cent of China’s emissions are for goods and services which are exported elsewhere.
- Emissions in the UK decreased by 2.6 per cent in 2013 caused by a decline in the use of coal and gas. However the UK exports a third of its emissions by consuming goods and services which are produced elsewhere.
- CO2 emissions are caused primarily by burning fossil fuels, as well as by cement production and deforestation. Deforestation accounts for 8 per cent of CO2 emissions.
- Historical and future CO2 emissions must remain below a total 3,200 billion tonnes to be in with a 66 per cent chance of keeping climate change below 2°C. But two thirds (2,000 billion tonnes) of this quota have already been used.
- If global emissions continue at their current rate, the remaining 1,200 billion tonnes will be used up in around 30 years – one generation.
- Global emissions must reduce by more than 5 per cent each year over several decades to keep climate change below 2°C.
- This emission quota implies that over half of proven fossil reserves might have to remain unused in the ground, unless new technologies to store carbon in the ground are developed and deployed in large quantities.
For more information see the Global Carbon Atlas, www.globalcarbonatlas.org, which allows users to explore, visualise and interpret data of global, regional and national emissions.
The Global Carbon Project is a core project of IGBP (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme). A formal process for the accession of core projects into Future Earth is currently underway.
- Le Quéré et al. (2014) Global Carbon Budget 2014. Earth System Science Data Discussions (manuscript in discussions), http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/essdd-7-521-2014
- Friedlingstein et al. (2014) Persistent growth of CO2 emissions and implications for reaching climate targets. Nature Geoscience, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2248
- Raupach et al. (2014) Sharing a quota on cumulative carbon emissions. Nature Climate Change http://www.nature.com/doifinder/10.1038/nclimate2384
- Fuss et al. (2014) Betting on Negative Emissions. Nature Climate Change (commentary)
- Data and figures: http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget
- Data interface for exploring data: http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org
- After embargo papers are free for one month for registered users at www.nature.com
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/globalcarbonproject
- Twitter: #carbonbudget, @gcarbonproject
DATESeptember 21, 2014
AUTHORFuture Earth Staff Member
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