The bank for a changing world

Global Carbon Atlas : A new tool to understand the carbon cycle

  • 20.11.2013
The Global Carbon Project, with the participation of around 30 laboratories from around the world and the support of the BNP Paribas Foundation, is launching today the Global Carbon Atlas – www.globalcarbonatlas.org, a website which helps visitors to visualise, interpret and obtain the latest data on the global carbon cycle.

For the first time, this tool provides precise data based on observations and models which quantify anthropogenic emissions and natural CO₂ wells. It uses new interactive visualisation tools to generate maps and infographics whose data are taken from reliable scientific (and therefore comparable) sources.

The tool allows users to visualise for example that
- China was the largest emitter of CO₂ with 9,630 MtCO₂ emitted in 2012, but the 40th largest emitter based on data per inhabitant;
- emissions per inhabitant in China grew at a slower pace in 2012 than in 2011;
- the largest source of fossil energy in the US in 2011 was natural gas, with 1,364 tCO₂ emitted per person in 2012;
- India emitted more CO₂ than Russia for the first time in 2008;
- CO₂ wells simulated through ocean carbon models are larger in the North Atlantic than in the North Pacific;
- carbon wells in vegetation were close to zero during the El Niño event of 1998.

Three main objectives

For climate policies, the private sector and international negotiations, the Atlas will provide every year harmonised data on emissions per country to help to implement concrete actions to fight climate change.

For the general public, the Atlas will display emissions per country and their long-term evolution.

Finally, for amateur and professional scientists, the Atlas will offer a service by providing interactive maps which display CO₂ fluxes on the whole planet. They will rely on different models which measure atmospheric inversion and the carbon cycle in the ocean, vegetation and soil, the results of which have been contributed by more than 30 research groups worldwide. These interactive maps provide a comparison of the results from the different models. Moreover they provide summaries and an understanding of the mechanisms which control CO₂ fluxes in each region of the globe.

Global Carbon Budget 2013 (4,094 Mo)

About the Global Carbon Project
The Global Carbon Project is part of the Earth System Science Partnership which aims to foster international cooperation in carbon cycle research. It produces an annual report which includes data about the exchange of carbon dioxide resulting from human activity.

About LSCE (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement)
LSCE is a combined research unit (UMR 8212) between the CNRS, the CEA and the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin (UVSQ) where 250 researchers and students work. The laboratory is part of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL). LSCE focuses on research into greenhouse gases, climate change and forecasts of future evolutions, as well as the use of geotrackers in the environment. Philippe Ciais, who coordinated the creation of the Atlas, heads up the team researching the composition of the atmosphere at LSCE. He is a specialist in the carbon cycle and the author of more than 300 articles on this topic that have been published in international scientific magazines. Philippe Ciais founded the European network ICOS which researches greenhouse gases in Europe. He is a member of the GIEC, the joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and the main author of the chapter on the Carbon Cycle in the GIEC's 5th report which was published in September 2013.

About the Climate Initiative programme
This project is part of the Climate Initiative, a corporate philanthropy programme supporting climate change research, which was launched in 2011 by the BNP Paribas Foundation, in close cooperation with the BNP Paribas Group's Corporate Social Responsibility team. There are five climate projects in the programme: Subglacior, eFOCE, the Global Carbon Atlas, Access to the Climate Archives and PRECLIDE.

About the BNP Paribas Foundation -
Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation endeavours to preserve and promote the artistic treasures of museums, to encourage creators and performers in disciplines that rarely attract aid from corporate support programmes and to fund research programmes in high technology sectors such as medical and environmental research. It also supports projects aimed at promoting education and social integration.
Press contact(s)
Press contacts
BNP Paribas Foundation: Florence Bardin - florence.bardin [at] agencef (dot) com - +33 6 77 05 06 17
BNP Paribas: Anne-Sophie Trémouille - anne-sophie.tremouille [at] bnpparibas (dot) com - + 33 1 58 16 84 99