Global carbon dioxide emissions increased 45% between 1990 and 2010, with an all-time high in 2010 of 33 billion tons, a new report has found.
While developed countries are working toward increased energy efficiency, nuclear energy and a growing renewable energy contribution, this is still not compensating for an increasing global demand for power and transport. Developing or industrializing countries have been driving demand.
Emission reductions in industrialized countries were not enough to lower the amount of CO2 emitted. While emission trends vary greatly from country to country, industrialized countries are likely to meet a 5.2% emission reduction by 2012.
Between 1990 and 2010, CO2 emissions in Russia and the European Union decreased by 28% and 7%, while emissions from the United States increased by 5%, and emissions from Japan remained relatively constant.
Per capita per year, the United States currently emits 16.9 tons of CO2, more than double the emissions per capita of Europe’s 8.1 tons. China’s emissions are at 6.8 tons per capita, which is on par with Italy.
The report, entitled “Long-term trend in global CO2 emissions” prepared by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, offers some sobering information regarding the realities of sustainable development and climate change. Despite our efforts increasing from what we were doing even 5 or 10 years ago, the numbers have refused to go down because there has been too much demand for power and transport in developing countries.
Let’s hope that when we take a look in another 10 and 20 years, the numbers will have dropped significantly. Let’s hope that by then they will have shown that we were capable of not only changing how we do things in industrialized countries, but of helping those all over the world do the same.