BRUSSELS (CN) – The European Union’s Joint Research Centre says global carbon dioxide emissions reflect a “steep increase” over the past two decades, despite international agreements to reduce emissions.
The center’s report analyzed international statistics and came to the conclusion that increased demand for power and transport – especially in developing countries – is outstripping increased energy efficiency measures and use of renewables.
The 37 industrialized nations that are party to the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, emitted approximately 7.5 percent less CO2 in 2010 than in 1990, and remain on target reach their goal of a 5.2 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2012, the report says.
Growth in developing countries and economic recovery by industrial countries, however, caused greenhouse gas emissions to increase a record 5.8 percent in 2010.
The center says the findings illustrate the large and collaborative effort that is still required for mitigating climate change.
The report quantifies relative greenhouse gas emissions in two ways: by overall emissions, and also emissions on a per capita basis.
By the first definition, China, with its population of 1 billion, is the single largest emitting country, while the United States came in second.
On a per capital basis, the United States, which has signed the Kyoto Protocol but not ratified it, is the world’s largest CO2 emitter, followed by the EU, China, India and Russia. From 1990 to 2010, total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. increased by 5 percent, while the EU’s emissions decreased by 7 percent overall during the same period.
The U.S. emits 18.6 tons of carbon dioxide per capita every year, more than twice that of the EU and two and a half times that of China. Global CO2 emissions reached an all-time high of more than 36 billion tons in 2010, according to the report.