Trends in global CO2 and total greenhouse gas emissions: Summary of the 2017 report

CO2 emissions and total global greenhouse gas emissions are reported for 2016, based on the latest update of the EDGAR v4.3.2 database, using statistics, where available, up to and including 2016. The conclusion of the report is that, in 2016, total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued to increase, by about 0.5%, reaching 49.3 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Non-CO2 emisssions main cause increase global green house gas emissions

The increase in GHG emissions is mainly due to the rise of non-CO2 emission levels in 2016, which was estimated at around 1%. With a share of about 28%, the non-CO2 GHG emissions are a significant source of global GHG emissions. Of those, methane, constituting about 19% of global emissions, is by far the largest category. Its main sources are fossil fuel production (25%), cattle (23%) and rice production (10%).

The figures quoted above for total GHG emissions do not include net CO2 emissions from land use change. Those land-use related emissions are much more uncertain and can show large interannual variations. Estimated at about 4.1 Gt CO2 eq., they bring the total GHG emissions in 2016 to approximately 53.4 Gt CO2 eq.

Global CO2 emission level remains essentially flat in 2015 and 2016

Global CO2 emission levels remained essentially flat in 2015 and 2016, with respective increases of -0.2% and 0.3% (±0.5%), especially when accounting for 2016 being a leap year and thus 0.3% longer. The recent slowdown in growth of CO2 is mainly the result of lower coal consumption from fuel switches to gas for power generation and increased renewable power generation.

Emissions in largest countries stabilise or drop, India shows major increase

The five largest emitting countries plus the European Union, which together account for 51% of the world population, accounted for 68% of total global CO2 emissions and about 63% of total global GHG emissions. Of those largest emitters, only India has shown a significantly rising trend of GHG emissions in 2016 (+4.7%). Russia and the United States have shown a decreasing trend (both -2.0%) as did Japan (-1.3%), whereas China, the European Union and the group of other G20 members have stayed virtually at the same level as in 2015. Other growth in global GHG emissions mainly occurs in other developing countries.


J.G.J. Olivier, K.M. Schure, J.A.H.W. Peters


Publication title
Trends in global CO2 and total greenhouse gas emissions: Summary of the 2017 report
Publication date
28 September 2017
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