2018 Global CO2 emissions
The following calculations and graphics are based on information on worldwide CO2 emissions published by BP in June 2019 for the period from 1965 up until the end of 2018, below.
The pie diagram above shows the proportion of CO2 emissions as of the end of 2018.
The previous post for the end of 2017 is available for reference here:
The data showing the progress of CO2 emissions by 2018 in the Developed and Developing worlds can be summarised as follows:
Some initial points arising from the BP data:
- Having been relatively stable overall for the last 7 years, global CO2 emissions grew by ~2.0% in 2018. 2.5% of this growth was in the Developing world whereas 1.1% of the growth was in the Developed world. This growth of ~650,000,000 tonnes in 2018 was despite all the international “commitments” arising from the Paris Climate Agreement.
- The contrast between the Developed and Developing worlds remains stark:
- developing world emissions overtook Developed world CO2 emissions in 2005
- they have been escalating ever since the likely prognosis for their CO2 emissions that they will continue to grow and accelerate.
- Since 1990 CO2 emissions from the Developed world have decreased, whereas the Developing world has shown a fourfold increase since 1985. This change is mainly due to:
- the Off-shoring of major industries to parts of the world that have less rigorous environmental standards or who care less about CO2 emissions
- the use of Fracked natural gas for electricity generation as opposed to coal as in the USA
- the growing use of Coal firing for electricity generation in the Developing world supported by Chinese technology exports.
- Weather Dependent Renewables have made very little contribution to this CO2 emissions reduction, if at all, when looked at in the round, from manufacture to demolition they are neither CO2 nor energy neutral
- CO2 emissions in the Developing world are accelerating as the quality of the lives for people in the underdeveloped and developing worlds are progressively improving. Even so at least ~1.12 billion people in the Developing world still have no access to reliable electricity.
- As a result CO2 emissions / head for India and the rest of the world’s Underdeveloped nations (~53% of the world population) remains very low at ~1.8 tonnes / head, (~40% of the Global average) meaning that their state of serious human deprivation and underdevelopment is continuing but it is progressively being rectified.
- By 2018 CO2 emissions from the Developing world were some 62% of the global emissions.
- India and the underdeveloped world will certainly be continuing to promote their own development to attain comparable development levels to their other peer group developing nations.
- India’s growth in CO2 emissions 2017 – 2018 was by a further 7.0%
- China, (still considered here as a “Developing Nation”, according to its un-concerned attitude to the Paris climate accord), showed domestic CO2 emission growth of 2.14% in 2018. However China is also promoting the use of coal-firing for electricity generation domestically and across the Developing world with some 300 new Coal-fired generation plants currently in the pipeline.
- At 6.7 tonnes / head China’s CO2 emissions for its population of some 1.42 billion has now approached the average CO2 emissions / head achieved in Europe.
- China’s CO2 emissions / head was already higher than most of the EU Nations other than Germany.
Even as long ago as October 2010 Professor Richard Muller made the dilemma for all those who hope to control global warming by reducing CO2 emissions, particularly by means of CO2 reductions from Western Nations, clear: in essence he said:
“the Developing World is not joining-in with CO2 emission reductions nor should it have any intention of doing so. The failure of worldwide action negates the unilateral action of any individual Western Nation”.
To bring the current but growing underdeveloped world population:
- up to the present Global average CO2 emissions at 4.4 tonnes /head will imply a further 6,643,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum or an annual output of 40,328,000,000 tonnes, an increase of +~20%
- up to the present Chinese and European average of CO2 emissions at 6.7 tonnes /head will imply a further 20,217,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum or an annual output of 54,000,000,000 tonnes, an increase of +~60%
Representation by Region
This analysis divides the world’s nations into seven logical groups with distinct attitudes to CO2 control:
developed nations: population ~1.19 billion – ~37% CO2 emissions.
- United States of America, now President Trump is rescinding many of Obama’s climate initiatives, including USA support for the Paris Climate accord: population 328m : 4.3% — 15.2% of global CO2 emissions.
- Japan, the former Soviet Union, (CIS), Canada and Australia, (JP CIS CA AU), are developed nations, ambivalent towards controls on CO2 emissions and not necessarily adhering to the Paris Climate Accord: population 356m : 4.6% — 12.6% of global CO2 emissions.
- The European Union (28), (including the United Kingdom): population 508m: 6.7% — 10.2% of global CO2 emissions., currently believing in action to combat Global Warming, and their governments are generally enthusiastic supporters of the Paris Climate Accord as the European Union. However it should be noted that the populace of the EU(28) is losing enthusiasm for Green agendas: subsidy support for Renewables is being curtailed and it is likely that many of the pioneering commitments of the past 25 years made to controlling climate change will not retain subsidy support and therefore will be abandoned in future.
developing nations: population ~6.45 billion – 62% CO2 emissions
- China and Hong Kong: developing very rapidly, with no effective commitments under the Paris Climate Accord: population 1,390m : 18.6% — 28.3% CO2 emissions. China is responsible for the continuing development of its own Coal-Fired installations, multiple Coal-fired installations in the Third World and for the development Fracking for its own Gas fields. Although China makes empty gestures towards Renewable Energy and has benefitted from Solar PV manufacture, nonetheless its actions are hardly in accordance the Paris Climate Accord.
- India is developing rapidly from a low base with no virtually commitments under the Paris Climate Accord: population 1,368m : 17.9% — 7.4% CO2 emissions. India is continuing the rapid development of its own Coal-Fired installations. Although India makes gestures towards Renewable Energy its actions are hardly in accordance the Paris Climate Accord.
- South Korea, Iran, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan, (KR IR ZA MX SA BR ID TW): the more advanced developing nations, still developing rapidly, with minimal commitments under the Paris Climate accord: population 900m – 12.0% CO2 emissions.
- Rest of World (~160 Nations), like India the remainder of the underdeveloped world is developing rapidly from a low base. These nations have no real commitments under the Paris Climate Accord other than the anticipated receipt of “Climate Funds” from developed nations: population 2,758m : 36.1% — 14.6% CO2 emissions.
These data are set out in tabular form below.
These graphs of total CO2 emission history show that up until 2018:
- there has been an overall reduction of CO2 emissions from most of the Developed economies since 1990.
- the USA, simply by exploiting shale gas for electricity generation, has already reduced its CO2 emissions by some 16% since 2005. That alone has already had a greater CO2 emission reduction effect than the entire Kyoto protocol.
- CO2 emissions from the developed economies ambivalent about action on CO2 (JP RU CA AU) have hardly grown since 2005.
- the European Union, EU(28) has reduced its CO2 emissions by ~12% since 2005
However, CO2 emissions from the Developing world as a whole overtook the Developed world in 2007 and are now ~60% larger than the Developed world’s CO2 emissions.
There has been a very rapid escalation of Chinese CO2 emissions since the year 2000.
- China overtook the USA CO2 emissions in 2006, and Chinese emissions are now ~62% higher than the USA. After a brief hiatus till 2016 the escalation in Chinese CO2 emissions now continues. Chinese emissions have grown by +75% since 2005 and China continues to build coal fired powerstations to supply the bulk of its electricity as its industrial and domestic demands grow.
- India has accelerating CO2 emissions, growing from a low base, by +63% since 2005. India is building coal fired powerstations to increase the supply of electricity as ~25% of its population still has no access to electric power.
- there is inexorable CO2 emissions growth from the underdeveloped Rest of the World economies, from a low base, they have grown by +80% since 2001.
Recent CO2 emissions growth
The progressive changes indicating CO2 emissions growth can be seen in the graphic below.
Global CO2 emissions had previously plateaued. But since 2016 they have shown a significant uplift. Unsurprisingly the emissions growth has mainly occurred in the developing nation groups India and the Rest of World as their quality of life is progressively improving. After a fall in 2015 – 2016 in 2017 – 2018 the was a significant uplift in Chinese emissions. In spite of the Europe wide efforts EU(28) emissions have also been growing overall.
Notably the only Nation that had consistently reduced its CO2 emissions was the USA, however there was a significant uplift of USA emissions in 2018.
With increasing installation of Coal-Fired generation throughout the developing world it is now likely that Global CO2 emissions will continue to show significant growth thus entirely negating the objectives of the Paris Climate accord.
CO2 emissions / head
Possibly more significant than the total CO2 emissions output is the comparison of the CO2 emissions / head for the various nation groups. This measure represents the level of development of various Nations.
- In 2003 China overtook the world-wide average for CO2 emissions / head and surpassed the rapidly developing nations.
- China’s CO2 emissions / head have increased ~11 fold since 1965.
- China’s emissions / head have increased in 2018 to ~6.70 tonnes / head.
- By the measure of CO2 emissions / head China and the EU(28) have been closely aligned since 2014 at ~6.7 tonnes / head
- The EU(28) with active legal measures had reduced emissions until ~2013. Much of that downward trend is largely attributed to their declining economies and the displacement of industrial processes to countries with laxer environmental regimes.
- But recently the EU(28) has seen an upturn in CO2 emissions/head because of increased coal burning for electricity generation particularly in Germany.
- India’s CO2 emissions have grown by 4.7 times since 1965 and are now showing acceleration. That emissions rate is likely to accelerate continuously with increased use of coal for electricity generation.
- India and the bulk of the underdeveloped nations, (~55% of the world’s population), still remain at a very low level of CO2 emissions levels / head of about 1.80 tonnes / head, this level is about 1/9 of the level of the USA and about 1/4 of the level in the EU(28) and China. As a result these under-developed Nations have widespread poor access to reliable power.
- The USA has already reduced its CO2 emissions / head by ~20% since in 2005. This has mainly arisen from the substitution of shale gas for electricity generation replacing Coal. The reduction has not been achieved by the introduction of Weather Dependent Renewables which require ancillary fossil fuel back-up to compensate for their intermittent unreliability.
- Russia is actively involved in backing anti-fracking campaigns in Europe and in the USA via its support of various NGO groups. This is an obvious policy to protect the largest Gasprom markets for Russian Gas in the West. This maintains an energy stranglehold on Western nations, as was well demonstrated in the Ukraine. The export of Fracked gas from the USA to Europe and indigenous fracking for example in the UK may progressively break such a stranglehold.
- Russia, Japan, Canada and Australia have only grown their emissions/head marginally by ~1% since 2005.
European Union CO2 Emissions
- When the participating nations particularly in the environmentally active / Green aware EU are compared with Chinese CO2 emissions/head, an interesting picture arises, as follows.
- Average EU(28) CO2 emissions now approximate closely to China.
- EU(28) CO2 emissions overall have fallen slightly in 2018, notably in Germany and remarkably France.
- Chinese CO2 emissions at 6.70 tonnes/head for its 1.4 billion population are already ~51% higher than the worldwide average. China’s emissions/head grew significantly in 2018.
- China’s CO2 emissions/head now substantially exceed those in the UK at 5.52 tonnes / head.
- However China has no real commitment under the Paris Climate Accord to constrain its CO2 emissions till after 2030.
- The UK has seen a significant drop in CO2 emissions reaching 5.52 tonnes/head in 2018.
- At 8.78 tonnes /head, Germany virtually is alone amongst the EU(28) still substantially exceeds the CO2 emissions/head level of China.
- At 4.56 tonnes / head French emissions have increased beyond the world-wide average 4.44.
- Still at 4.56 tonnes/head, France, has the lowest CO2 emission rates in the developed world. This is entirely due to the long-term commitments by France to electricity generation by Nuclear energy. That fact makes President Macron’s stated intention to reduce Nuclear generation from ~75% to 50% particularly anachronistic. This is especially so as French CO2 emissions are now showing an increase from their previously low base.
- China’s CO2 exceeded France’s CO2 emissions / head in 2009 and are now ~46% higher.
- The EU(28) CO2 emissions / head now equate to China
- Germany, one of the largest CO2 emitters in Europe, has emissions/head ~100% higher than the worldwide average but it is only ~31% higher than China.
- Germany’s emissions / head have increased recently because they are now burning much larger quantities of brown coal to compensate for the “irrational” closure of their nuclear generating capacity.
- Following the Fukushima disaster, the German government position of rapidly eliminating nuclear power in a country with no earthquake risk and no chance of tsunamis is emotional, irrational and non-tenable.
The unique performance of France as a Developed country in limiting its CO2 emissions must question the logic of Green attitudes in opposing of Nuclear power. If CO2 emissions really were a concern to arrest Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming / Man-made Climate Change, these results, particularly from France, show starkly the very real advantage of using Nuclear power for electricity generation.
But even France’s commitment to Nuclear power is now being questioned. Green attitudes in the French government are thus now threatening to destroy one of France’s supreme national assets, i.e. its commitment to reliable Nuclear energy for economic electricity generation, which if it were an essential advantage, have no significant CO2 emissions.
The futility of Western de-carbonisation
It is clear that CO2 emissions a continuing to grow in the Developing World. This CO2 emissions growth should be anticipated to continue indefinitely.
Actions of the Western Governments in response to the Alarmist Green thinking have already caused
- gross risks to Western energy security by the imposition of unreliable and intermittent Weather Dependent Renewables.
- substantially increased costs for private energy users
- damaged the economics of all Western manufacturing industries.
- the effective elimination of Fracking as a technique for fossil fuel recovery in Western Europe
- self inflicted harm by “Green Virtue Signalling” have been to the financial benefit of Russia and China in the continuation of “a covert Cold War”
Western industrial companies are bound to seek more congenial energy / business environments, with laxer attitudes towards CO2 emissions to maintain the performance of their businesses. So the futility of the expenditure of vast resources on Green activities in Germany and throughout the Western world becomes clear.
By way of example, the UK was responsible for 1.16%, (391), million tonnes of the 2018 total 33,685 million tonnes of global CO2 emissions, and the UK government has committed to reduce CO2 emissions to net Zero by 2050 at an estimated cost of some £1.0 trillion.
The UK CO2 output will be rapidly overtaken by the growth in CO2 emissions from China, India and the other Developing Nations this growth alone amounting to 475 million tonnes in 2018.
Any attempt to reduce UK CO2 emissions at enormous costs would therefore seem fatuous.
Carbon dioxide is 75 times less effective as a Greenhouse Gas than water vapour and clouds. Any extra CO2 in the atmosphere just makes plants grow better and helps to feed the World. So the hugely damaging UK policy will address only 1/7500 of the problem of extra CO2 in the atmosphere.
Any CO2 reduction policy should also be seen in a longer-term context:
- The modern short pulse of beneficial Global warming stopped 20 years ago and recent global temperatures are now stable or declining.
- According to reliable Ice Core records the last millennium 1000 – 2000 AD was the coldest of our current Holocene interglacial and the world had already been cooling quite rapidly for 3000 years, in fact since ~1000 BC.
- At 11,000 years old, our Holocene interglacial, responsible for all man-kind’s advances, from caves to microprocessors, is coming its end.
- The weather gets worse in colder times.
- The world will very soon, (on a geological time scale), revert to a true glaciation, again resulting in mile high ice sheets over New York.
The prospect of even moving in a cooling direction is something to be truly scared about both for the biosphere and for man-kind.
Spending anything, trying to stop something that has not been happening for 3 millennia seems truly stupid.
An estimate of the additional 60 year lifetime cost commitment of some €2.6 trillion that has already been committed for the installation of Weather Dependent Renewables in Europe is given at
According to Bjorn Lomborg the ~€125billion German investment in solar power alone Western Europe, not including other Weather Dependent Renewable investments, could only ever reduce the onset of Global Warming by a matter of about 37 hours by the year 2100, if at all.
And more recently Bjorn Lomborg has produced evidence that the total effect of any agreement in the terms proposed in Paris could only control future warming in 2100 by less than 0.2°C.
In addition in their recent paper the prestigious French Société de Calcul Mathématique SA have clearly said:
“The battle against global warming: an absurd, costly and pointless crusade”