Trends in Global CO2 and Total Greenhouse Gas emissions; 2019 report

Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased at 1.5% per year, over the last decade, with only a slight slowdown from 2014 to 2016. In 2018, the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions resumed at a rate of 2.0% per year, reaching 51.8 gigatonnes in CO2 equivalent (GtCO2 eq) without land-use change. This is the only report that provides estimations of all recent global greenhouse gas emissions (not only CO2).

Growth in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 highest since 2011

Global emissions growth was 2.0% in 2018 and there is no sign of any of these emissions peaking, as yet. The increase in global emissions was mainly due to increasing fossil CO2 emissions, which increased by 2.0% in 2018. Global emissions of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) increased by 1.8% and 0.8%, respectively. The emissions of fluorinated gases (so-called F-gases) continued to grow by an estimated 6% in 2018.

With about 72% for fossil CO2 and 19% for methane, these emissions form the lion’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land-use change). The other greenhouse gases are N2O (6% share) and F-gases (3%); these emissions continued to grow at rates similar to those in 2016 and 2017.

Greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 were about 57% higher than in 1990 and 43% higher than in 2000. The 2018 global greenhouse gas emissions amounted to 55.6 GtCO2 eq when including the — very uncertain — land-use-change emissions (estimated at 3.8 GtCO2 eq).

In 2018, emissions increased in the four largest emitting countries and decreased in the EU and Japan

The five largest emitting countries and the European Union, together, accounted for 62%, globally. In 2018, a real increase in  emissions was shown in four of these countries: in China (+1.9%), India (+5.5%), the United States (+2.7%) and the Russian Federation (+5.1%), whereas emissions decreased in the European Union (-1.5%) and Japan (-1.2%).


These emissions were calculated based on the EDGAR database version v5.0 for 1970–2015; for CO2 from the use of fossil fuel and carbonates, they were mainly based on IEA energy statistics, and for other gases, we used several statistics, including the FAO agricultural statistics. A fast-track method was applied to estimate the 2016–2018 trend, mainly using international activity statistics from various sources.


PBL Authors
Jos Olivier Jeroen Peters


Publication title
Trends in Global CO2 and Total Greenhouse Gas emissions; 2019 report
Publication date
3 February 2020
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