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Global Carbon Budget
Media Summary Highlights (compact)



Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels and industry increased by 0.6% in 2014, with a total of 9.8±0.5 GtC (billion tonnes of carbon) (35.9 GtCO2) emitted to the atmosphere, 60% above 1990 emissions (the Kyoto Protocol reference year). Emissions are projected to decline by -0.6% in 2015 (range -1.6% to +0.5%).

In 2014, the ocean and land carbon sinks respectively removed 27% and 37% of total CO2 (fossil fuel and land use change), leaving 36% of emissions in the atmosphere. The ocean sink in 2014 was 2.9±0.5 GtC (10.6 GtCO2), slightly above the 2005-2014 average of 2.6±0.5, and the land sink was 4.1±0.9 GtC (15 GtCO2), the largest sink recorded over the past 60 years, and well above the 3.0±0.8 average of 2005-2014.

Total cumulative emissions from 1870 to 2014 were 400±20 GtC (1465 GtCO2) from fossil fuels and cement, and 145±50 GtC (549.6 GtCO2) from land use change. The total of 545±55 GtC was partitioned among the atmosphere (230±5 GtC), ocean (155±20 GtC), and the land (160±60 GtC).

coal mine

Emissions from fossil fuels and industry

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production increased by 0.6% in 2014, with a total of 9.8±0.5 GtC (35.9 GtCO2) emitted to the atmosphere. These emissions were the highest in human history and 60% higher than in 1990 (the Kyoto Protocol reference year). In 2014, coal burning was responsible for 42% of the total emissions, oil 33%, gas 19%, cement 6%, and gas flaring 1%. Emissions are projected to decline by -0.6% in 2015 with a range of -1.6% to +0.5%. Read more ...

world showing Asia

Regional fossil fuel emissions

In 2014, global CO2 emissions were dominated by emissions from China (27%), the USA (15%), the EU (28 member states; 9%) and India (7%). Growth rates of these countries from 2013 to 2014 were 1.2% for China, 2.9% for the USA, −5.9% for the EU28, and 8.6% for India. The per-capita CO2 emissions in 2014 were 1.3 tonnes of carbon person-1yr-1 (4.9 tCO2) for the globe, 4.7 (17.4 tCO2) for the USA, 1.9 (7.1 tCO2) for China, 1.8 (6.6 tCO2) for the EU28, and 0.5 (2.0 tCO2) for India. Read more ...

cargo ship

Consumption-based fossil fuel emissions

Consumption-based emissions allocate emissions to where goods and services are consumed, not where they are produced and emissions released. Transfers of emissions embodied in trade from non-Annex B countries (developing and emerging economies) to Annex B countries (industrialized countries) grew at about 20% yr-1 between 1990 and 2007, but have since declined at about 3% yr-1. Read more ...

ocean waves

Emissions from land use change

CO2 emissions from deforestation and other land-use change were 0.9±0.5 GtC (3.3±1.8 GtCO2) on average during 2005-2014, accounting for about 9% of all emissions from human activity (fossil fuel, cement, land use change). The data suggest an overall decrease trend in land-use change emissions particularly since 2000. Emissions were 1.6±0.5 GtC yr-1 (5.9±1.8 GtCO2) during the decade of 1990s. Read more ...


Emission pathways

Current trajectories of fossil fuel emissions are tracking some of the most carbon intensive emission scenarios used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The current trajectory is tracking baseline scenarios in the latest family of IPCC scenarios, but the continuation of low or no growth as in 2014 and 2015 would change this trajectory. Although the implementation of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs, or emission pledges) could avoid the worst effects of climate change, many studies suggest a temperature increase of 3°C is now possible and even likely without larger emissions reductions. Read more ...

ocean waves

CO2 removals by natural sinks

Of the total emissions from human activities during the period 2005-2014, about 44% accumulated in the atmosphere, 26% in the ocean and 30% on land. During this period, the size of the natural sinks has grown in response to the increasing emissions, though year-to-year variability of that growth is large. The 2014 land sink estimate was one of the highest in the 60-year record studied. Read more ...

Sky & clouds

Atmospheric CO2

The annual growth rate of atmospheric CO2 was 3.0±0.2 GtC in 2014, corresponding to an increase of 1.83±0.09 parts per million in the atmospheric concentration. This is below the 2005-2014 average of 4.4±0.1 GtC yr-1, thought the interannual variability in atmospheric growth rate is large. The global atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 397.15±0.10 ppm on average over 2014 and have continued to increase in 2015. Read more ...


Cumulative Carbon Emissions

The cumulative carbon emissions are the sum of the total CO2 emitted during a given period of time. Total cumulative emissions from 1870 to 2014 were 400±20 GtC from fossil fuels and cement, and 145±50 from land use change. This total of 545±55 GtC was partitioned among the atmosphere (230±5 GtC), ocean (155±20 GtC), and the land (160±60 GtC). Read more ...