2013 data from the Global Carbon Project, to which around thirty laboratories worldwide have contributed, is now available on Global Carbon Atlas – www.globalcarbonatlas.org, a platform which has been set up by the Paris-based Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (LSCE) with the support of the BNP Paribas Foundation. The figures show that global CO2 emissions continued to rise last year, steadily eroding any chance of limiting global warming to an increase of 2°C by 2100.
Rising emissions, trend likely to continue
Global CO2 emissions, which arise from burning fossil fuels and activities such as the production of cement, continue to grow rapidly. In total, 36 billion tons of CO2 were emitted in 2013, an increase of 2.3% on 2012.
This upward trend can be found in all the world’s major economies:
- In China emissions rose 4.2% last year. This is however a slower rate of increase than that recorded over the last decade, the improvement being due partly to the country’s economic slowdown and partly to the efforts being made to reduce the economy’s dependency on fossil fuels.
- In the United States, emissions rose by 2.9%, due mainly to increased use of coal in 2013.
- In India, emissions increased by 5.1%, due for the most part to the country’s economic growth.
- In Europe, emissions fell by 1.8% in 2013, mainly as a consequence of the economic slowdown on the continent.
Given the projections for worldwide economic growth, the current trend will – in the absence of any countervailing policy measures – probably continue at least until 2019.
This observed trend towards continually rising emissions means that considerable efforts will be required to limit the increase in average surface temperature of our planet to the target of 2°C by 2100.
Having set a target of limiting the increase in the average temperature of the planet to 2°C by the end of the century, humanity has already released into the atmosphere some two thirds of the total permissible greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions continue along today’s path, the projected total will be reached in the next 30 years, i.e. in a single generation.
Philippe Ciais, a Senior Researcher at LSCE, pointed out that: “The sharp increase in CO2 emissions compared with our ‘quota’ of future emissions permissible if we wish to avoid global warming of more than 2°C clearly demonstrates that we now need to take decisive action without delay to decouple economic growth from increases in emissions so as to substantially reduce CO2 output.”
Laurence Pessez, Head of CSR at BNP Paribas, underlined: “The Global Carbon Atlas is a brilliant tool, not only for policy makers but also for financial institutions, to help assess national or sectorial climate risks and policies. BNP Paribas expects the Global Carbon Atlas to play an important role in the climate debate, especially in the run-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) next year in Paris.”
Global Carbon Atlas: visualising CO2 emissions and learning more about the carbon cycle
All the latest data on CO2 emissions from fossil fuels for 2013 can be consulted freely on the Global Carbon Atlas, an online application created by scientists at LSCE and the community of research laboratories worldwide that are taking part in the Global Carbon Project, which the BNP Paribas Foundation supports.
For the first time this year, the Global Carbon Atlas is now available in five languages – English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese – at www.globalcarbonatlas.org. It provides rigorous data published in the scientific literature, based on observations and models which quantify anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and natural carbon sinks. The website incorporates interactive visualisation tools which generate maps and infographics, whose underlying data is traceable to scientific sources and thus mutually comparable.
About the Global Carbon Project – www.globalcarbonproject.org
The Global Carbon Project is an Earth System Science Partnership project whose aim is to encourage international cooperation in research into the carbon cycle. The project partners publish inter alia an annual report which includes figures on carbon exchanges resulting from human activity.
About the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement [Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory] - www.lsce.ipsl.fr
The Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (LSCE) is a joint research unit hosted by the Pierre Simon Laplace Institute for which some 250 researchers and students are currently working. It is run under the aegis of CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and CEA, France’s national Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies, together with the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin (UVSQ). The LSCE conducts research into greenhouse gases, climate change, projections for future climate change, and the use of geomarkers in the environment. The development of the Atlas was coordinated by Philippe Ciais, an expert in carbon cycle science who has authored over 350 articles on this subject published in international scientific journals and who heads the Biogeochemical Cycles and Transfers study group at LSCE. He is coordinator of the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), a large-scale research infrastructure dedicated to quantifying and understanding regional flows of greenhouse gases across Europe, and helped to create a chair of industry called BridGES at UVSQ. Philippe Ciais is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2007, and was lead author for the chapter on the carbon cycle in the 5th report of the IPCC which was published in September 2013.
About the Climate Initiative programme
The PNB Paribas Foundation provides support to the Global Carbon Atlas as part of the Climate Initiative, a corporate philanthropy programme promoting research into climate change which the Foundation launched in 2011 in close cooperation with the BNP Paribas Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility department. A total of 10 climate study projects have received or are currently receiving financial support through the Climate Initiative.
Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been playing a key role in corporate philanthropy for 30 years. It is also encouraging and contributing to the BNP Paribas’ philanthropic policy growth in all parts of the world where the Group does business.
The BNP Paribas Foundation’s activities are aimed at promoting innovative projects dedicated to culture, social inclusion and the environment. It is paying close attention to provide optimal support to its partners, through a long-term commitment. Dialogue, loyal support and a relationship based on trust are the hallmarks of its involvement.
The year 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the BNP Paribas Foundation. Since it was set up in 1984, more than 300 cultural projects, 40 scientific research programmes and around one thousand social and educational initiatives have benefited from its support, in France and across the world.
Global carbon summary data for 2013:
- Global Carbon Budget 2014, C. Le Quéré, R. Moriarty, R.M. Andrew, G.P. Peters, et al., Earth Systems Science Data Discussions
For more information on greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the 2% global warming target limit:
- Persistent growth of CO2 emissions and implications for reaching climate targets, P. Friedlingstein, R.M. Andrew, J. Rogelj, G.P. Peters, et al., Nature Geoscience
- Sharing a quota on cumulative carbon emissions, M.R. Raupach, S.J. Davis, G.P. Peters, R.M. Andrew, et al., Nature Climate Change
Betting on negative emissions, S. Fuss, J.G. Canadell, G.P. Peters, M. Tavoni, R.M. Andrew, et al., Nature Climate Change