Global emissions of carbon dioxide increased by three percent last year, reaching an all-time high of 34 billion metric tons in 2011, according to a report by The European Commission Joint Research Centre and PBL, the Netherlands’ environmental assessment agency.
The 2011 increase in global CO2 emissions is above the past decade’s average annual increase of 2.7 percent, but below the five percent surge shown in 2010, according to Trends in Global CO2 Emissions.
The report shows that global emission growth continued despite reductions in emissions from OECD countries. Weak economic conditions, a mild winter, and energy savings stimulated by high oil prices led to a decrease of three percent in CO2 emissions in the European Union and of two percent in both the United States and Japan. Emissions from OECD countries now account for only one third of global CO2 emissions.
In China, the world’s most populous country, average emissions of CO2 increased by nine percent to 7.2 metric tons per capita. China is now on par with the per capita emissions of Europe.
India’s emissions increased by six percent, meaning that China and India’s output combined now accounts for a third of the world’s emissions – the same proportion as all OECD countries.
The United States remains one of the largest emitters of CO2, with 17.3 tonnes per capita, despite a decline due to the recession in 2008-2009, high oil prices and an increased use of natural gas as an energy source, the report says.
According to the report, the top emitters contributing to the 34 billion tonnes of CO2 emitted globally in 2011 are:
- China (29 percent)
- The United States (16 percent)
- The European Union (11 percent)
- India (6 percent)
- The Russian Federation (5 percent)
- Japan (4 percent)
A recent report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked the UK as the most energy-efficient of 12 major economies, followed closely by Germany, Italy, Japan and France. The United states placed ninth, below China in eighth.
The US has made “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level,” according to the report, “The ACEEE 2012 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard.”