EU, China, US… Who emits the most greenhouse gases?



Nomi Kalland-Peon

Despite the Paris Agreement to control global warming, greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise around the world. The tendency for great powers to contribute to varying degrees.

The European Union, China and the United States emit the world’s largest greenhouse gases – credit: acilo / iStock

In 2019, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased for the third year in a row. Thus they achieved the record 52,4 gigatons Equivalent to CO2, step United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Since 2010, global GHG emissions have increased 1.3% On average per year. The only reason for the satisfaction is that the growth of these emissions seems to be declining, with an increase in it 1,1 % In 2019.

Greenhouse-effect gas: Greenhouse gases (GHGs) absorb a portion of the sun’s rays by redistributing it into the atmosphere. The major GHGs released by human activity are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), ozone (O3), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Without these gases, the Earth’s average temperature would be -18 ° C and life would be impossible. But their increase in concentration in the atmosphere, which has been linked to human-industrial activities since the 19th century, led to significant global warming.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) Excess gas emitted by human activities. This is responsible for two-thirds of the greenhouse effect. This is why the effect of other greenhouse gases has traditionally been measured as “CO2 equivalent”.

CO2 has long been unique to the rest of the atmosphere. Current emissions will have an impact on global warming for decades to come.

Different pathways between major emitters

Beyond the global trend, greenhouse gas emissions are primarily the responsibility of major economic and industrial powers. The 4 major providers (China, US, EU27 + United Kingdom and India) actually contribute more than this 55 % Total emissions over the past decade. The number will rise to 65% for the top 6 providers and 78% for all G20 countries.

Of these forces, some have already begun to reduce their emissions, while others continue to emit more and more greenhouse gases. The following curves from the United Nations Environment Program illustrate these trends for the 6 major emitters, followed by international transport (in gigatons equivalent to CO2 on the left, and tons of CO2 on the right).

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Source: UNEP Report 2020.

At absolute value, the China It is thus the most important emitter of greenhouse gases. The country alone emits more than a quarter of global GHG emissions. In the 2000s, the country saw a sharp increase in these emissions, driven by sustainable economic growth. The Chinese boom is actually mainly based on coal consumption, the most polluting energy. However, reducing its coal consumption led to a slowdown in its GHG emissions, which peaked between 2014 and 2016, reaching a record high of 14 GT CO2-eq before rising again in 2019.

United States It is the second largest emitter with 13% of global GHG emissions. Since 2010, emissions have fallen slightly (0.4% per year), thanks to renewable energy and the abandonment of coal in favor of gas. Despite the change in climate policy under President Trump, low-profit coal continues to lose ground.

European union Emits almost 9% of global GHG emissions. Emissions from 27 member states and the United Kingdom have fallen by 1.5% year-on-year over the past decade, to 3% in 2019. This reduction is mainly due to the declining emissions from the electricity sector (approximately 15%, thanks to the gradual conversion of electricity generated from coal).

Although its individual GHG emission rate is one of the lowestஇன்டெ It ranks 4th among the largest emitters, with almost 7% of global GHG emissions. In 2019, the country’s emissions increased by 1.4%, which is lower than the average annual increase of 3.3% over the past decade. Like China, the country’s rapid economic growth also led to a sharp increase in its GHG emissions. However, India is committed to a return to renewable energy.

5th in global emissions, Russia Emits nearly 5% of global emissions. The economic crisis and recession that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a reduction in its GHG emissions. In 2003, its emissions were 30% lower than in 1990. However, this rare earth country relies heavily on the exploitation of its gas and oil resources, releasing large amounts of CO2. In recent years, Russia has witnessed the effects of climate change, including permanent frostbite and widespread wildfires. It also joined the Paris Agreement in 2019.

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Represents 2.7% of global emissions, Japan 2013 has seen a drop in its emissions. This reduction is mainly due to the increase in renewable energy and the restart of nuclear power plants.

Countries’ rankings change when individual emissions are taken into account. The United States Then overtake the other transmitters 20 tons CO2 equivalent individual, followed by close Russia With 17,4 t.-CO2. The China Now, in 4th place 9.7 t.-CO2 For one person, before that Japan (10.7 t.-CO2-eq) Following that European Union (8.6 t.eq-CO2). In இன்டெ, Reaching individual emissions only 2.7 t.-CO2.

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Emission reduction duties

The largest emitters of greenhouse gases play a key role in meeting international climate targets because they largely determine global emissions trends. All signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement will be able to collectively fulfill the first commitments of the G20 countries by 2020, according to estimates that take into account emissions until 2019.

195 delegates were adopted at the 2015 Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP21)Paris Agreement It aims to avoid more dangerous climate change by restricting global warming to a maximum of 2 C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this goal, the signatory countries must be the first “Global cap on greenhouse gas emissions can be achieved soon”.

Nationally Regulated Contributions (NDCs) Paris are at the center of the deal. They outline the actions each party plans to take by 2030. They operate on 5 year cycles, with increasingly ambitious activities. After the first round, the parties were expected to submit their action plans by the end of 2020.

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L ‘European union Formed as a part Gallery 2020, Aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels. However, this reduction has already reached 21% in 2018 Eurostat, Allowing the EU to fulfill its obligations.

In its contribution to the Paris Agreement, the EU has recently added its intention to reduce its emissions. 55% by 2030 Compared to the 1990 levels, the previous target was 40% higher.

But reaching this new threshold is difficult right now. EU 27 emissions expected to fall by about 45% by 2030 as a result of policies pursued in the climate, energy and transport sectors UNEP Report. But the efforts needed under the Green Accord and the European Recovery Plan will help it go further.

The United States, On the other hand, should not meet the targets set when the Paris Agreement was signed. With their withdrawal, Donald Trump decided, and came into force in 2019, that the country will still have an official CDN. Questioning several environmental measures under the previous administration increased its delay. However, the United States, led by Joe Biden, has returned to the Paris Agreement, whose contribution is due in 2021.

The return of the United States to the Paris Agreement was also welcomed in view of the long-term climate objectives. According to UNEP, 126 countries have already declared a climate neutral objective by 2050 (or 2060 in the case of China), which represents 51% of global GHG emissions. With the United States, 63% of global emissions will be concerned later. While this is a reminder of the importance of climate aspirations, The Report However, UNEP underscores that. “To be viable and credible, these obligations urgently need to be translated into strong short-term policies and actions and reflected in NDCs.“.


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