Carbon Reduction

Across the world, five countries – China, USA, Russia, Japan and India – are responsible for 55.4% of the total carbon emitted from energy consumption. China and the USA account for 40.8% of energy consumption carbon emissions alone. Only Russia’s carbon emissions have decreased since 1980; all others’ have increased. The collapse of the Russian economy following the end of the Soviet Union has had one positive result, the reduction of carbon emission from industry. After a delay of some time, Russia ratified the Kyoto treaty early in November 2004 and now has a substantial number of emissions credits to sell on the global market.

It is estimated that US energy-related CO2 emissions in 2001 totalled 5,692 Mt. To put US emissions in a global perspective, total energy-related CO2 emissions for the world in 2001were estimated at 23,899 Mt, making US emissions about 24% of the world total. Emissions for the industrialised world, that is, North America, Western Europe, and industrialised Asia, in 2001 are estimated at 11,634 Mt, or about 49% of the world total, implying that US emissions represent about 49% of the energy-related CO2 emissions from the industrialised world. The remaining 51% of 2001 worldwide energy-related CO2 emissions come from developing countries with 9,118 Mt and the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with 3,148 Mt. By 2025, however, the US share of total world emissions is projected to fall to 22% or 8,142 Mt out of a global total of 37,124 Mt. The reason for the expected decline in the US share is that energy-related CO2 emissions from the developing countries are projected to increase at an annual rate of 2.7%, while emissions from the industrialised countries increase by 1.2% annually.

In December 1997, more than 160 nations met in Kyoto to negotiate binding limitations on greenhouse gases for the developed nations, in line with the objectives of the Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992 (UNFCC). The outcome of the meeting was the Kyoto Protocol, in which the developed nations agreed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, relative to the levels emitted in 1990.