Global Carbon Budget 2013

19-11-2013 | Publication

Accurate assessment of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and their redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and terrestrial biosphere is important to better understand the global carbon cycle, support the development of climate policies, and project future climate change. Here we describe datasets and a methodology to quantify all major components of the global carbon budget, including their uncertainties, based on the combination of a range of data, algorithms, statistics and model estimates and their interpretation by a broad scientific community. We discuss changes compared to previous estimates consistency within and among components, alongside methodology and data limitations.

CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel combustion and cement production (EFF) are based on energy statistics, while emissions from Land-Use Change (ELUC), including deforestation, are based on combined evidence from land-cover change data, fire activity in regions undergoing deforestation, and models.

The global atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 392.52 ± 0.10 ppm on average over 2012. We estimate that EFF will increase by 2.1% (1.1–3.1%) to 9.9 ± 0.5 GtC in 2013, 61% above emissions in 1990, based on projections of World Gross Domestic Product and recent changes in the carbon intensity of the economy. With this projection, cumulative emissions of CO2 will reach about 550 ± 60 GtC for 1870–2013, 70% from EFF (390 ± 20 GtC) and 30% from ELUC (160 ± 55 GtC). This paper is intended to provide a baseline to keep track of annual carbon budgets in the future.