CO2 emissions decline only in a few countries
The Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e. V. (UFOP) has emphasized that the European Union is set to live up to its leadership role in protecting the climate and must therefore push on climate protection on an international scale. The EU's CO2 emissions declined 25 percent compared to 1990. By contrast, greenhouse gas emissions in China, India and Indonesia rose more than 24 percent. Against this background, the next Climate Change Conference (COP26) will be held in Glasgow at the end of 2021. Warning that time is running out to protect the climate, the UFOP has called on the signatory countries to the Paris climate agreement to produce their climate protection strategies now for the period up to 2050.
The UFOP has pointed out that the increase in global fossil CO2 emissions observed in the years 2017 and 2018 continued in 2019, if at a slower rate. The EU Commission's in-house Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research has shown that the EU and Russia were the only industrial regions with CO2 emissions clearly (around 25 percent) below those of 1990. Over the same period, CO2 emissions in the U.S. and Japan rose 0.8 percent and 0.4 percent respectively, whereas CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere by the emerging economies of China and India were 3.8 and 3.3 times higher, respectively, than 1990 levels due to their rapid industrialization in the past two decades. However, the database records only the world's fossil CO2 emissions from anthropogenic activities, i.e., those generated by using fuels such as mineral oil, coal or natural gas. It does not cover CO2 emissions from biomass burning, changes in land use (clearing primeval forest/grassland, release of methane from permafrost soils) or forestry.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, global greenhouse gas emissions have increased compared to the three previous decades. This was mainly due to the growth in CO2 emissions in emerging markets. The latest EDGAR estimates confirm that this trend continued in 2019, with global anthropogenic fossil CO2 emissions rising 0.9 percent on 2018 and reaching a volume of 38 gigatonnes CO2-e.
In 2019, the world's biggest CO2 emitters—China, the U.S., India, the EU-27 plus U.K., Russia and Japan—accounted for 51 percent of world population and 62.5 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). At the same time, they were responsible for 62 percent of total global fossil fuel consumption and 67 percent of global fossil CO2 emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions developed differently between these countries in 2019 compared to 2018. The biggest increases were recorded for China and India, whereas the largest decline was identified for the EU-27 plus U.K. at 3.8 percent.