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Energy and Climate Change

Global greenhouse gas emissions, per type of gas and source, including LULUCF

Infographic | 28-09-2017

In 2016, total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued to increase slowly by about 0.5% (±1%), to about 49.3 gigatonnes in CO2 equivalent (Gt CO2 eq).

Taking into account that 2016 was a leap year, and therefore 0.3% longer, and together with the 0.2% increase in 2015, the 2016 emission increase was the slowest since the early 1990s, except for global recession years. This is mainly the result of lower coal consumption from fuel switches to natural gas and increased renewable power generation; in particular, in wind and solar power. Most of the emissions (about 72%) consist of CO2, but methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated gases (F-gases) also make up substantial shares (19%, 6% and 3%, respectively). These percentages do not include net emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), which are usually accounted for separately, because they show large interannual variations and are very uncertain. They mostly consist of net CO2 emissions from changes in land use and land cover, plus small amounts in CH4 and N2O from forest and peat fires. When including LULUCF emissions — for 2016, estimated at about 4.1 Gt CO2 eq — estimated global total GHG emissions come to 53.4 Gt CO2 eq.

The trend in global CO2 emissions excluding those from LULUCF has remained more or less flat, over the last two years (±0.5%), see Figure 1. Non-CO2 greenhouse gases retained an annual growth rate of about 1%. In contrast, net CO2 emissions from LULUCF — in particular from forest and peat fires — show a highly varying pattern that reflects the periodically occurring strong El Niňo years, such as in 1997–1998 and 2015–2016.

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