Climate Change 2007 Update
7. What are the current trends in greenhouse gas emissions?
Since pre-industrial times, increasing emissions of
greenhouse gases due to
human activities have led to a marked increase in the
concentration of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere. Between 1970
and 2004, global emissions have increased by 70%. Over this
period, emissions from the energy and transport sectors have
more than doubled.
Global greenhouse gas
(N2O), and fluorinated
greenhouse gases (HFCs,
PFCs and SF6). The gases are each weighted by their
global warming potential
and the total is expressed in
carbon dioxide equivalents
In 2004, total greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities
reached 49 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents
(GtCO2-eq) and CO2 alone represented 77%
of the total.
Although since the 1970s less and less energy is needed to
generate a given amount of
GDP, this decrease has been
offset by the global economic and
population growth. Emission
reduction policies have been put in place in some countries that
have been effective in reducing emissions in those countries to
a certain degree, but not sufficiently to counteract the global
growth in emissions.
With current mitigation policies and
practices alone, global
greenhouse gas emissions
will continue to grow. Indeed, in the absence of additional
mitigation measures, emission
scenarios project an
increase of 25 to 90% in greenhouse gas emissions in 2030
compared to 2000.
(See The Emission Scenarios of the
Fossil fuels are expected
to maintain their dominant position in the global energy mix
beyond 2030. Hence between 2000 and 2030,
emissions from energy use are projected to grow 45 to 110% over
that period, particularly in developing regions
(non-Annex I regions).
CO2 emissions per capita are expected to remain
substantially higher in developped countries compared to the
rest of the world
(Annex I regions).
However, developed countries are expected to use less energy per
unit of GDP than developing