Today, a report was published from the research performed jointly by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).  The preliminary data collected “on the basis of energy consumption data for 2008 to 2010 recently published by BP” as well as the “production data for cement, lime, ammonia and steel and emissions per country from 1970 to 2008 from version 4.2 of the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR).”  The full report (pdf) is available for download here.

In brief, the report presents the following:

  • Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were 5.8 percent higher in 2010 than in 2009.
  • The 2010 emission level resembles and is reminiscent of the 1976 level.  At that time, the world was recovering from the oil crisis and subsequent stock market collapse.
  • The growth of developing nations, in addition to the recovery of industrialized nations are key causes of this increase.
  • Despite the increase, the level of emissions in industrialized countries remains below the levels before the recession in most cases.
  • The largest CO2 emissions increases were seen in China (up 10%), India (up 9%), the USA (4%) and the EU-27 (up 3%).

The full details on global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production between 1970 and 2010 are available for download and are examined by region (exl).

Despite these increases, the industrialized countries that ratified the Kyoto target remain on target to hit the emissions reduction levels called out.  The goal, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 4.2% during 2008-2012, should easily be reached.  Current estimates place the average reduction at 16%.  This does not include emissions from the USA, as they did not ratify the Kyoto protocol.  During this time frame, US emissions increased 11 percent between 1990 and 2008-2011.  When these figures are included, the average reduced emissions are approximately 7.5 percent compared with 1990, still well within the goal.

The impact of the Kyoto Protocol is debatable.  While limited in direct impact, many consider it to be an important step in encouraging the development of new green technologies.