The record of recent Man-made CO2 emissions: 1965 -2014

Guest post by Ed Hoskins. A short bio is given at the end of the post.

Summary

This post, using BP statistical review (2015) data, presents CO2 trends on an absolute and per capita basis for the main global economies.  They add in the effect of recent Chinese under-reporting of CO2 emissions.  They compare CO2 emissions / head as a representation of the level of development of national groups.  In particular China overtook the EU (28) in 2012 and France has the lowest CO2 emissions / head of the developed world.  It is even less that the whole worldwide average.

If Greens wants to save the world from CO2 emissions this data wholly vindicates the use of Nuclear power for electricity generation.  Their preference for Renewable Energy, with the closure of fossil fuel generation, may destroy the progress and benefits of western civilization.

Introduction

The following calculations and graphics are based on information on national CO2 emission levels worldwide published by BP in June 2015 for the period from 1965 up until the end of 2014.

http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/about-bp/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy/statistical-review-downloads.html

These data and graphics have been updated in the light of the recent announcement that China has been significantly under reporting its actual CO2 emissions.

The assumption made for the additional CO2 emissions from China is calculated by assuming the emissions previously reported  by BP had increased by 17% in 2014.  Prior to that emissions are increased by 1% every year from 1998 onwards.  This may be an underestimate.

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/03/china-burns-much-more-coal-than-reported-complicating-climate-talks.html

These notes and figures provide a short commentary on that CO2 emissions history.

Some highlights arising from the BP data and the revisions arising from the recent announcement of under-reporting of CO2 emissions by China:

  • by 2014 CO2 emissions for the developing world were ~60% higher than those from the developed world.
  • China’s CO2 emissions / head for its population of some 1.4 billion have exceeded the average emissions/head in Europe, and China’s CO2 emissions / head was higher than most of the EU Nations except for Germany.
  • CO2 emissions / head for India and the rest of the world’s Underdeveloped nations (~53% of the world population) remained very low at ~1.7 tonnes / head, meaning that their state of very serious deprivation and underdevelopment is continuing.
  • India’s growth in CO2 emissions 2013 – 2014 equated to China’s level.

The contrast between the developed and developing worlds is stark in terms of their history of CO2 emissions and the likely prognosis for their future CO2 output.

Since 1980 CO2 emissions from the developed world have shown virtually no increase, whereas the developing world has had a fourfold increase since 1980.  That increase is and should be accelerating to ensure the improvement of the the lives of people in the underdeveloped world..

In October 2010 Professor Richard Muller made the dilemma for all those who hope to control global warming by reducing CO2 emissions clear: in essence he said:

“the Developing World is not joining-in with CO2 emission reductions nor does it have any intention of doing so.  The failure of worldwide action negates the unilateral action of any individual western Nation”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5m6KzDnv7k

Representation by Region

This presentation divides the world nations into seven logical groups with distinct attitudes to CO2 control:

developed nations:  population 1,184m – 16%.

  • United States of America, attempting CO2 emissions control under Obama’s EPA: population 321m – 4.4%.
  • The European Union, (including the UK), currently believers in action to combat Global Warming;  population 506m – 6.9%.
  • Japan, the former Soviet Union, Canada and Australia are developed nations, presently rejecting controls on CO2 emissions:  population 356m – 4.9%.

developing nations:  population 6,123m – 84%

  • South Korea, Iran, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan: more advanced developing nations, still developing rapidly, (KR IR ZA MX SA BR ID TW):  population 833m – 11.4%.
  • China and Hong Kong: developing very rapidly: population 1,398m – 19.1%.
  • India: developing rapidly from a low base:  population 1,274m – 17.4%.
  • Rest of World (~160 Nations): developing rapidly from a low base:  population 2,630m – 36.0%.

CO2 emissions / head

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 Nation groups.

  • The EU(27) even with active legal measures have maintained a fairly level CO2 emission rate but have managed to reduce their CO2 emissions/head by ~22% since 2005. Much of the recent downward trend is largely attributed to their declining economies and the displacement of industrial processes to countries with laxer environmental regimes.
  • The USA has already reduced its CO2 emissions/head by ~9% since in 2005, mainly arising from the use of shale gas for electricity generation. And now Mr Putin is actively involved in backing anti-fracking campaigns in Europe so as to protect his largest Gasprom market and to have an energy stranglehold on the West, as he has demonstrated recently in the Ukraine.
  • Russia, Japan, Canada and Australia have only grown their emissions/head by ~1% since 2005.
  • China’s CO2 emissions / head have increased ~11 fold since 1965. China overtook the world-wide average in 2003 and surpassed the rapidly developing nations in 2006.
  • China’s emissions / head at 8.24 tonnes / head have now surpassed the average level of the EU(27) nations, (7.33 tonnes /head).
  • India’s CO2 emissions have grown by 4.7 times over the period and are now showing recent acceleration. That increasing rate is likely to grow substantially with increased use of coal for electricity generation.
  • India and the bulk of the underdeveloped, ~55% of the world’s population, still remain at a very low level of CO2 emissions levels of only about 1.7 tonnes / head.

When the participating nations particularly in the environmentally active  / Green aware EU are compared with Chinese CO2 emissions/head, an interesting picture arises, showing:

  • Chinese CO2 emissions at 8.24 tonnes / head for its 1.4 billion population are already ~63% greater than the worldwide average. China’s emissions are still growing fast.
  • China ‘s emissions / head has now overtaken the overall average of the whole European Union. Germany alone still exceeds the CO2 emissions level of China.
  • At 4.36 tonnes / head, France, with ~80% nuclear electricity generation, has the lowest CO2 emission rates in the developed world
  • France emissions/ head are now 2% below the world-wide average.
  • China’s CO2  exceeded France’s CO2 emissions / head in 2009 and are now ~87% higher.
  • The UK emissions/head at 6.65 tonnes / head is now ~21% lower than China.
  • The EU(27) CO2 emissions / head as a whole is now 12% less than China
  • Germany, one of the largest CO2 emitters in Europe, has emissions/head ~92% higher than the worldwide average but it is only ~18% higher than China.  Germany’s emissions/head have tended to increase recently because they are now burning much larger quantities of brown coal to compensate for the “irrational” closure of their nuclear generating capacity.

The performance of France in limiting 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 now threatening to destroy one of France’s supreme national assets, i.e. its commitment to Nuclear energy for electricity generation, with no CO2 emissions.

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 should not be tenable.

Gross CO2 emissions

These graphs of total CO2 emission history show that up until 2014:

  • there has been a stabilisation or reduction of emissions from developed economies since 1980.
  • the USA, simply by exploiting shale gas for electricity generation, has already reduced its CO2 emissions by some 9.5% since 2005. That alone has already had more CO2 emission reduction effect than the entire Kyoto protocol.

http://www.c3headlines.com/2013/07/a-fracking-revolution-us-now-leads-world-in-co2-emission-reductions-.html

http://www.oilandgasonline.com/doc/u-s-fracking-has-carbon-more-whole-world-s-wind-solar-0001

http://www.pbl.nl/en/news/pressreleases/2011/steep-increase-in-global-co2-emissions-despite-reductions-by-industrialised-countries

  • CO2 emissions from the developed economies rejecting action on CO2 (JP RU CA AU) have hardly grown since 2005.
  • the European Union, EU (27)+EFTA has reduced its CO2 emissions by ~22% 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.

http://www.pbl.nl/en/news/pressreleases/2011/steep-increase-in-global-co2-emissions-despite-reductions-by-industrialised-countries

  • China overtook the USA CO2 emissions in 2006, and Chinese emissions are now ~62% greater than the USA, the escalation in Chinese CO2 emissions 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 emissions, growing from a low base by +63% since 2005. India too 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 emissions growth from the Rest of the World economies, from a low base, they have grown by +30% since 2005.

So any CO2 emissions reduction achieved by the Developed Nations will be entirely negated by the increases in CO2 emissions from Developing Nations.

A comparison can be made between the annual growth of CO2 emissions from China and India and the annual  CO2 emissions output of major European economies.

This graph shows clearly that total European CO2 emissions have often been entirely dwarfed by the incremental growth seen in China. The growth of Chinese CO2 emissions in some years have often exceeded the German, UK and French CO2 emissions level.

It is also interesting to note that by 2014 the growth in CO2 emissions in India matched that of China..

The futility of de-carbonisation

Actions in the West in response to the Green agenda are increasing risks to energy security and damaging the economics of all its manufacturing industries.  So those companies are bound to seek more congenial energy / business environments, with laxer attitudes towards CO2 emissions,

So the futility of the expenditure of vast resources on Green activities in Germany and throughout the Western world becomes clear. According to Bjorn Lomborg the ~€125billion German investment in solar power alone, not including other renewable investments, could only reduce the onset of Global Warming by a matter of about 37 hours by the year 2100. http://www.lomborg.com/content/2013-03-germany-pays-billions-delay-global-warming-37-hours 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”

http://www.scmsa.eu/archives/SCM_Global_Warming_Summary_2015_09.pdf

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.

http://judithcurry.com/2015/11/09/lomborg-impact-of-current-climate-proposals/#more-20393

Bio for Ed Hoskins

At 76 I am retired: I qualified at Guys as a dentist and then read architecture at Cambridge. I did research on quantifiable aspects of building and planning. In 1969 I founded one of the earliest spin-off software companies from the University, Applied Research of Cambridge. ARC pioneered many effective software products for building, planning and geographic information systems. I ran ARC for some 16 years and it grew to about 150 people worldwide.

I encountered Green thinking when researching pollution in London. The results were not in line with the Green script, and when published they elicited death threats. So I started to wonder why Greens were so afraid of simple facts.

This entry was posted in Climate change, Energy, Political commentary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to The record of recent Man-made CO2 emissions: 1965 -2014

  1. Chaam Jamal says:

    the connection between fossil fuel emissions and warming is a correlation between cumulative values shown here
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n12/fig_tab/nclimate2064_F1.html
    this correlation is spurious because it can be shown that even cumulative values of random numbers are correlated
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2725743

    • Yvan Dutil says:

      The problem is that the math of this paper is erroneous. .

      • Tom Bates says:

        Looked at the paper, the math and the conclusion. Can see no obvious flaw. If there is a bias towards warming and with changes in earths tilt and orbit we have such a bias, the correlation is apt to be spurious between CO2 and the warming caused by changes in earths tilt and orbit. .

  2. Joe Public says:

    Thanks for sharing your insight, Ed.

  3. Euan Mearns says:

    A number of years ago, someone (perhaps Steve Kopits) produced a forecast for Chinese energy consumption based on UN population growth forecasts and assumptions about Chinese per capita energy converging with the OECD economies. The forecast has come to pass.

    The growth in CO2 is underpinned by population growth and growing aspirations of citizens in developing nations. Since both of these variables will continue to rise until at least 2050, trying to abate CO2 emissions is a simple exercise in futility and vanity.

    The other vital pieces of the jigsaw are emissions embedded in traded goods – the EU and USA have managed to reduce emissions by outsourcing industry, jobs and prosperity to China. This shows up clearly in the data. And of course Europe in particular has been adept at prolonging recession through combined energy, climate and currency policies.

    Well done Europe!

    • Willem Post says:

      Euan,
      “And of course Europe in particular has been adept at prolonging recession through combined energy, climate and currency policies.”

      Brussels, with its rules and regulations and expansionist dogma, is a major downer for EU economic growth, as is having sanctions on Russia, one of its most profitable customers, and celebrating the “acquiring” and propping up, with $billions per year, for decades to come, corrupt countries, such as Ukraine, etc. One wonders how much EU economic growth was reduced by refuge distractions and increased security measures. I an surprised the UK is still a member.

      Ed Hoskins made a very valuable contribution to understanding the CO2 reduction hoax; it is a hoax because of gross world product growth and population growth since 1800, courtesy of abundant fossil fuels. Do the CO2 data include OTHER greenhouse gasses, such as methane?

      The GWP is about 410 times greater than in 1800 and the population about 7.3 times greater, with each person consuming 4 times the energy in 2015 than in 1800.

      http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/83704/reduce-co2-and-slow-global-warming

    • Tom Bates says:

      One thing to keep in mind is the Chinese are really complaining about the pollution. The government plans to build a whole mess of nucs to provide power so the coal plants making must of the CO2 emissions will drop drastically in the long term.

  4. gweberbv says:

    Very good overview!

    However, I was a little disappointed that the author does not explain why/how the ‘preference for Renewable Energy, with the closure of fossil fuel generation, may destroy the progress and benefits of western civilization’.

    • edhoskins says:

      Hi gweberbv

      “preference for Renewable Energy, with the closure of fossil fuel generation, may destroy the progress and benefits of western civilisation”

      Just wait till the grid fails in the UK Germany or anywhere else in Europe.

      The UK came perilously close (1% margin) on a warm November evening in 2015.

      Then you will see the immediate destruction of the progress and benefits of western civilisation.

      The problem is that a dependence on intermittent, non-dispatchable renewables mandated by Green thinking will result in a failure of civilised values. This will be because innumerate the politicos have not understood the physical necessities of power generation and have trusted their planet saving emotions rather than engineering common sense.

      The numbers will tell the story.

      • willem post says:

        Ed,

        The UK is planning to build a 1,200 MW wind turbine plant, 75 miles offshore, in the North Sea. It will have 174 wind turbines, at 6.9 MW each, 623-ft tall. The capital cost will be $5.429 billion, or $4,524,000/MW, excluding financing and amortization costs.

        The production would be about 1200 x 8760 x 0.45 = 4,730,400 MWh/y. The average output would be 0.45 x 1200 = 540 MW, but the minimum output could be near-zero MW, or up to about 1,100 MW.

        Energy will be sold at 20.3 c/kWh, whereas current grid prices are 5.1 c/kWh. The difference, totaling $6.1 billion over the 25-year life, will be charged to users as a surcharge on their electric bills.

        Europe HAS to resort to such expensive energy production systems, because it has few onshore areas with adequate wind, and these areas are too densely populated.

        http://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/EN010033/2.%20Post-Submission/Representations/ExA%20Questions/Appendix%20CC%20-%20Socio-economic%20Assessment%20Methodology%20Note.pdf

        It would be unwise for the US to have build-outs of offshore wind turbine plants off the Atlantic coast, as the Great Plains would provide a much greater quantity of energy at about 5 – 6 c/kWh, with minimal subsidies.

        See URL for explanation
        http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/2308156/economics-batteries-stabilizing-and-storage-distribution-grids

        • A C Osborn says:

          There-in lays the complete Fallacy of Green thinking.
          Using the HAS to, the EU does not HAVE to do anything with Wind Turbines at all, as Ed has pointed out, it is a total waste of Time, Money and more importantly Energy.

          • Willem post says:

            A.C.
            I agree, but if the UK stays committed to wind in the sea, sort of like a nostalgic Britannia ruling the waves, then it has to build these wind turbine systems.

            However, if ever the UK comes to its senses, then it would build out nuclear, including modular nuclear, fast breeders.

        • edhoskins says:

          Willem you say

          “The UK is planning to build a 1,200 MW wind turbine plant, 75 miles offshore, in the North Sea. It will have 174 wind turbines, at 6.9 MW each, 623-ft tall. The capital cost will be $5.429 billion, or $4,524,000/MW, excluding financing and amortization costs.
          The production would be about 1200 x 8760 x 0.45 = 4,730,400 MWh/y. The average output would be 0.45 x 1200 = 540 MW, but the minimum output could be near-zero MW, or up to about 1,100 MW”.

          You may be in error with your assumption of the 45% capacity ratio.

          The newly announced mega wind farm in the North Sea with 6.9MW each X 174 = nameplate capacity ~1200MW for a price of ~$5.5billion
          With the stated capacity factor of 45% gives an output of 540MW about ½ GW or ~$10billion/GW.

          This is about half the output capacity of a normal 1GW gas fired generating station for a capital cost of about $1billion / GW, resulting in a comparative ratio of 10:1.

          But the Renewable Energy Foundation reports that Offshore wind power capacity performance in UK waters only ranges from an absolute maximum of ~31% to 24% in 2014, with an overall average of 25% since 2004. A 25% capacity factor gives a comparative capital value of ~$18billion/GW or a comparative capital cost ratio of 18:1.

          see: http://www.ref.org.uk/generators/group/index.php?group=yr

          When consideration is given to the additional costs experienced with Offshore electricity generation for maintenance, their rapid deterioration and limited service life, those cost factors are likely to be further exceeded.

  5. Stuart says:

    I dislike it when people chart completely different parameters on the same figure.

    For example, charting the annual *growth* of Chinese emissions with annual emissions of European countries just confuses things. One is MTe/yr and one is MTe/yr^2.

    Also the charts titled “cumulative emissions” are not cumulative at all, unless we are to believe developed countries have net negative emissions in recent years?

    Treat the data and the presentation of data with extreme care, otherwise any point you are trying to make is just lost.

    On the positive side, cumulative CO2 emissions by country would be an interesting chart (although no such chart is provided). Afterall it is not the emissions today that are the biggest contributor to global warming but the cumulative emissions of the past 150 years.

    Something like this
    http://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/uploads/historical_emissions.png

    The problem as the author alluded to is that it is simply not possible to prevent 2.5 billion people climbing out of poverty with cheap coal fired electricity. When you don’t have electricity or running water climate change is pretty far down your list of concerns.

    To solve the climate change problem, first we have to solve world poverty.

    • willem post says:

      Stuart,
      “To solve the climate change problem, first we have to solve world poverty.”

      It has nothing to do with poverty.

      To solve many of the world’s problems, the world’s population HAS to be reduced to about 1 billion.

      To just sit there and let it go to 10 billion is insane.

      • A C Osborn says:

        Willem, we have had this debate before.
        There is nothing wrong with the current world population and as Developing countries become richer their population growth will slow down to the same as the developed world.

        • Willem post says:

          A.C.
          The population is fine, it is just too many in numbers, so as a few locusts are fine, but a horde…..

          Developing countries getting richer can only happen if they under pay their workers and have lower cost energy and other resources. They have to outcompete the developed countries to become rich.

      • oldfossil says:

        Lots of greenies have warned about the need to reduce the world’s population. So far, not one of them has led by example. If you were sincere you and your family would report to one of those euthanasia clinics. But of course you wouldn’t because extermination is something that can only be allowed to happen to someone else. Ah, the fragile human ego and the quest for immortality.

    • Ken Gregory says:

      Stuart, you are correct, the graphs labeled “Cumulative CO2 emissions 1965 – 2014″ and Developed / Developing Nations Cumulative CO2 emissions” are not cumulative CO2 emissions over time. They are stacked graphs of annual CO2 emissions of the countries. The titles should be changed.

  6. roberthargraves says:

    This article ends on a rather pessimistic note, when in fact new nuclear power can indeed solve the global climate/energy/poverty crisis. For example, ThorCon’s hybrid thorium/uranium molten salt reactor will generate electric power cheaper than coal-fired power plants. Fundamental economics will cause the developing nations to adopt this least-expensive, safest, reliable power source. Our design permits the addition of 100 GW of carbon-free electric power per year. We can provide the electricity needs this way…. [But I couldn’t figure out how to post the graphic I intended to include.]

    • Peter Lang says:

      Robert Hargraves,

      I find it very frustrating and damaging, you keep making this unsupported assertion:

      ThorCon’s hybrid thorium/uranium molten salt reactor will generate electric power cheaper than coal-fired power plants.

      Throughout your book and many presentations you keep making similar statements such as “thorium is cheaper than coal”.

      But that claim is dishonest because it has never been demonstrated. If it had been demonstrated, properly, then utilities would be choosing it over most other technologies. They are not. This proves your claim is wrong. Top keep restating it is dishonest.

      • roberthargraves says:

        Peter Lang, I understand your skepticism. You probably won’t be convinced that new nuclear power energy can be cheaper than that from coal until we demonstrate it. In the interim you can look at the detailed cost calculations for the ThorCon nuclear power plant at the Executive Summary document at http://thorconpower.com/docs/exec_summary2.pdf . We will demonstrate the prototype reactor first in Indonesia, as published here, http://neutronbytes.com/2015/12/06/indonesia-and-thorcon-to-develop-thorium-msr/ We have a dedicated team of skilled engineers who all know we can achieve this goal to resolve the global energy/climate/poverty conflict.

        • Peter Lang says:

          Robert Hargraves,

          Peter Lang, I understand your skepticism. You probably won’t be convinced that new nuclear power energy can be cheaper than that from coal until we demonstrate it.

          You have misunderstood and misrepresented what I said.

          My criticism is with your verb selection. It is dishonest. You keep saying that thorium is cheaper and will be cheaper. You do not know that. The solar thermal advocates like David Mills were making similar claims about solar thermal in the early 1990s; David Mills and other solar thermal advocates were claiming that

          “solar thermal is baseload capable and cheaper than nuclear now, if the stupid government bureaucrats would just give us more money to demonstrate it”.

          Their dishonesty discredited them.

          My criticism is with you using (wrongly) “is” and “will be” rather than “may be” or “possible will be” or most honest “My belief/opinion is“.

        • Tom Bates says:

          I would comment that the greatest cost to nuclear is the system paper work and legal dragouts that bloat the cost of nuclear to a much greater extent than a gas fired plant. The other cost driver is the one off method of building the plants and hiring workers to build them. The huge costs to rebuild the PG&E plant in California where they ;put in the supports backwards was a totally unnecessary expense you incur when building 90 plants all different using all different contractors and employees and inspectors. In Indonesia, after paying off the politicians, you will have to deal only with one set of employees, inspectors and contractors. Just make sure the guys okaying things have their reading glasses with them to read the plans correctly.

          • roberthargraves says:

            Tom, Here’s a quick overview of how we avoid the local contractor issues.
            http://thorconpower.com/docs/domsr.pdf
            In the case of the very first prototype in Indonesia, the entire power plant will be built into a barge at the shipyard. The barge will be settled in 5-10 meters of water near shore.

      • A C Osborn says:

        “If it had been demonstrated, properly, then utilities would be choosing it over most other technologies.”
        That is patently Not True, otherwise Solar and Wind Farms would never, ever have been built would they?
        Only subsidising them makes them viable at all, so how about some subsidised Thoriumto obtain the reality of if and how they work?

  7. Javier says:

    Global CO2 emissions are preliminarily estimated to have declined by 0.6% in 2015. It looks like we have reached Peak CO2 Emissions.
    http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/15/hl-full.htm

    Mission accomplished. Now if we can also keep the economy alive that would be a bonus.

  8. Roger Andrews says:

    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 Nation groups.

    No it doesn’t. Per-capita CO2 emissions broadly divide the world’s nations into haves and have-nots but they don’t tell us what the “level of development of various Nation groups” is. If we go just by per-cap emissions we find that the world’s most developed group of nations is Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, followed by the US, Canada and Australia. Europe comes way down the list, with Norway at a lower level of development than Russia, Denmark at a lower level than Iran and France at a lower level than China. The highest and best use anyone has found for per-capita CO2 emissions is as a club to beat the gluttonous developed nations over the head with (An American emits 45 times as much climate-destroying CO2 in a year as a Bangladeshi – shame!) Aside from that the metric has no practical application that I’m aware of.

    • willem says:

      Roger,
      Americans should be proud to emit so much CO2, as it helps the flora of the world.

      The Roman Warm Period was one of unparalleled western world prosperity, so was the Medieval Warm Period, and so is the Present Warm Period. Moderate global warming is good. The alternatives were the cold Dark Ages and the even colder Little Ice Age.

      • willem post says:

        Roger,
        The CO2 of a nation should be differentiated as follows:

        China CO2 = Domestic consumption CO2/capita + Incurred CO2 due to exports/capita – Avoided CO2 due to imports/capita.

        To lump it all together, as is usually done, is presenting a distorted picture, especially for a countries with a GNP including significant imports and exports, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, China.

        Some of the above graphs should be redone to reflect the differentiation.

  9. sod says:

    The most relevant information is not in those graphs. It is CO2 per GDP. And that number is falling.

    The relevant number in those graphs is the European level of CO2 per capita. This has to be the limit that other countries should reach for, as it is obviously possible to have a good live at that level of CO2 use (with minor adjustments, for example for places with extremely low population density or arctic/desert climate).

    In the past, people thought that CO2 drop per capita/gdp in western countries was caused by heavy production being moved out of the countries. It is obvious by now, that this is not true.

    Finally one word to the Lomborg article: he completely ignores all effects that the German investment had on prices for solar PV: That is about as misleading as things get.

    • Sod: quite right. The critical metric, which the post doesn’t address, is CO2 emissions per unit of GDP, otherwise known as carbon intensity. When we rank the world’s top 50 emitters by carbon intensity the EU wins easily (although Switzerland beats out Norway for first place), the US, Canada, Australia and Japan come midpack or above, China and India come close to the bottom and right at the bottom we find Russia, Iran and Ukraine. (UK comes eighth and Germany 14th, incidentally.)

    • David n says:

      CO2 / GDP is a useless metric, because GDP is a useless gauge. A bank trading money it never had to another bank, and the money off of the interest derivative determined by “The Market’s” expectation of future inflation count just as much toward GDP as actual physical goods rolling off a real world assembly line.

      Just ask Britain or America how all that fake GDP did for them in 2008!

    • Peter Lang says:

      If you want to compare countries CO2/GDP it should be on the basis of consumption, not production. On this basis, the top 5 countries in EU28 in 2013 (the latest data) were:

      Sweden, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands in that order http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/?q=en/emissions

      The top 5 of the OECD are: Iceland, Norway, Sweden, France, Spain. Others of interest ranked:
      UK: 10
      Germany: 14
      Switzerland: 20
      US: 27
      Canada: 34
      Australia: 36

      • sod says:

        “If you want to compare countries CO2/GDP it should be on the basis of consumption, not production.”

        Why?

        If we have two countries with similar GDP and similar CO2 output, looking at consumption only would give a very strange picture.

        Country A (massive export) only uses 50% of GDP for consumption, while country B (importer) is consuming 200% of GDP .

        Now CO2 output divided by 0.5 of GDP 2will give a high number, while same CO2 divided by 2 times GDP will give a small (and good ) looking number.

        The main problem with CO2 per capita is the fact, that this does not give any information about the production done by the CO2 output!

        • Peter Lang says:

          Sod,

          You ask “why?”. The reason is because it is the countries consuming the goods that are causing the emissions. So they should pay for them. EU has been forcing energy insensitive industries out of EU. They move to countries with cheaper energy, produce the goods and export them back to EU. Eu consumers want the goods. They should pay for the embodied emissions. I recognise it would be impossible to set up a system to account for and pay for the emissions, but I wasn’t addressing that – I was just saying that the correct way to compare emissions intensity per GDP is on a consumption basis not a production basis.

          • sod says:

            “The reason is because it is the countries consuming the goods that are causing the emissions.”

            But the way the metric works (CO2/GDP) your way of calculation (only taking the consumption percentage of GDP) will give a better (because lower) number to countries with high consumption.

            Unless i am completely confused about the math (corrections are always welcome!).

          • Peter Lang says:

            Sod,

            Did you refer to the the link in my first comment and have you read the literature? if not, I suggest you do. There is no point me trying to explain it to you in blog comments.

          • sod says:

            “Did you refer to the the link in my first comment and have you read the literature?”

            The link with the graph? and what literature should i read? Please repeat the link, i am not sure what you are reffering to.

            I will give a number example:

            I am looking at emissions per $ of GDP.

            http://coolstatsblog.com/2013/09/25/co2-emissions-per-dollar/

            a typical value for country A could be 100kg CO2 for 100 $ of GDP.

            the divisions gives a ratio of 1 kg/$.

            Another country B with 100 kg CO2 for 120 $ GDP would get a value of 2/3 kg/$.

            This value is smaller and better.

            Now we look at 2 countries with similar CO2 (100kg) and similar GDP (100$).

            BUT, country C is only consuming 50% of its GDP (export nation). so we get 100/50= 2 kg/$ (with $ being $ of consumption of GDP). This country will look bad in comparison with countries A and B.

            A country D which is importing a lot (200% consumption in relation to GDP) gives 100/200=0.5 kg/$ which would be the best value among the four countries.

            That is just plain out bad for comparison!

          • sod says:

            “Another country B with 100 kg CO2 for 120 $ GDP would get a value of 2/3 kg/$.”

            should be 150$.

  10. Peter Lang says:

    Ed Hoskins,

    This is an excellent post. Thank you. I’ve been trying to make similar points for many years, but nowhere near as clearly as you have.

    My thesis is that the world is unlikely to agree to global ‘command and control’ type policies, like carbon pricing, nor to policies that will raise the cost of energy. There are many authoritative reports and papers explaining why. I’ve explained here: ‘Why carbon pricing will not succeed’ http://anglejournal.com/article/2015-11-why-carbon-pricing-will-not-succeed/ and your post shows why the world is unlikely to agree to raising the cost of energy.

    Therefore, for those advocating to decarbonise electricity, I suggest they should be advocating for policies to enable low emissions electricity systems to become cheaper than high emissions electricity systems. Once this is achieved, cheaper energy will replace more expensive energy globally without any need for top-down, ‘command and control’ policies.

    How can we enable this? Answer: remove the impediments blocking it from happening.

    Since most low-emissions systems have comparatively high capital cost and comparatively low O&M and fuel costs, we need to focus on reducing the capital cost. We need to focus on the ‘Experience-curves / progress-ratios / learning/rate’ for capital cost.

    I argue, if the learning rate of nuclear had not been blocked by anti-nuclear sentiment (for five decades or more), especially in the USA, the capital cost of nuclear would be much less than what it is now (perhaps ¼ or less) – see Lovering et al, 2016, ‘Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors’ http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516300106 . I argue we need to remove the impediments that are blocking progress so we can return (over time) to the learning rates achieved in the first decade or so of deployment. I explain how I suggest the USA could lead the way to make this happen globally in a comment here: ‘How to make nuclear cheaper’ https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/#comment-759084 on my recent post on Climate Etc.: “Is nuclear power the cheapest way to decarbonise electricity?” https://judithcurry.com/2016/01/19/is-nuclear-the-cheapest-way-to-decarbonize-electricity/.

    • sod says:

      “Therefore, for those advocating to decarbonise electricity, I suggest they should be advocating for policies to enable low emissions electricity systems to become cheaper than high emissions electricity systems. Once this is achieved, cheaper energy will replace more expensive energy globally without any need for top-down, ‘command and control’ policies. ”

      Exactly this is happening today with solar and onshore wind.

      It is cheaper than other forms of new production and is pushing into basically all free electricity markets on a massive scale.

      The main problem now is, that we do not have a growing electricity sector in many countries. So the competition is not between new plants of different types only. The main competition is with old and dirty coal plants. That also is the main reason why solar and wind still need some help.
      And it is the reason, why there are no investments in nuclear, even with a lot of such help (see Hinkley).

      why (even when we support nuclear!) build a 10 year project, when we do not know if the electricity will be even needed and how much the price will be. It just is economic suicide.

      • Peter Lang says:

        My reswponse below

      • Willem post says:

        Sod,
        Modern societies need high quality, steady, 24/7/365, dispatchable, low cost energy.
        CSP with 10 h of storage would be a candidate, as would be nuclear.
        But PV solar and wind definitely are NOT candidates. They need the support from the STEADY sources and from various forms of storage.
        It so happens, current utility scale storage, other than hydro, is not economically viable.
        See my above comment.

  11. Peter Lang says:

    Sod,

    Weather dependent renewables are not cheap. They are expensive. Furthermore, they do not and cannot make much of a contribution to reducing global GHG emissions. They are a massive waste of money and a distraction.

    This recent analysis: http://erpuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/ERP-Flex-Man-Full-Report.pdf shows that all nuclear (no weather dependent renewables) is likely to be the cheapest way to decarbonise the GB electricity system. 31 GW new nuclear could achieve the 50 g/kWh target and 32 GW new nuclear could achieve the same emissions intensity as France (42 g/kWh in 2014). The analysis also shows that weather dependent renewables cannot achieve the target because firm power is required. Please do take you time and read it carefully and consider it before making any more poorly informed advocacy for weather-dependent renewables. The problems is that it would require a £70/t CO2 carbon price plus about 3% to 4% real price increase above existing GB total system cost. Any other mix of technologies is likely to be higher cost. This is why we need to remove the impediments that are blocking genuine progress – including all the incentives for weather dependent renewables.

  12. Luís says:

    “The assumption made for the additional CO2 emissions from China is calculated by assuming the emissions previously reported by BP had increased by 17% in 2014. ”

    Wich is a wrong a assumption, as explained in this message from David Fridley:
    http://attheedgeoftime.blogspot.com/2015/11/david-finley-on-chinese-coal-statistics.html

    What is called here “under-reporting” is actually a mismatch of 5% between two consecutive editions of Chinese Energy Statistical Yearbook. However, the CNBC took raw coal volumes and multiplied it by an arbitrary energy content to reach that magical figure of 17%. The fact that this fantastic claim was published by the CNBC within days of the Paris conference was certainly not a coincidence.

    Coal extraction in China peaked in 2013:
    http://attheedgeoftime.blogspot.ch/2015/11/peak-coal-in-china-and-world-by-jean.html

    The decline of coal extraction and consumption in China is prompting a reduction in CO2 emissions world wide:
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/07122015/global-carbon-emissions-rising-decades-decline-2015-study-climate-change-paris

    Just to get an idea how fast it is going:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/chinas-reduction-in-co2-emissions-in-just-four-months-totals-the-entire-greenhouse-gases-emitted-by-10255957.html

    The decline of coal extraction in China is due to four main constraints:
    . water availability;
    . rapidly declining energy content;
    . saturation of the steel market;
    . air polution.

    Unrelated, but relevant, China has recently become home to the largest solar park in the world:
    http://sustainnovate.ae/en/industry-news/detail/nea-china-now-worlds-largest-solar-pv-market-with-43.2-gw-of-installed-capa

    The world is not flat, as the IPCC would wish.

    Cheers.

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