Overview Of Global Co2 Emissions

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CO2 emissions alone increased from 4 Gt/y to more than 10 Gt/y between 1970 and 2003 (ExxonMobil, 2004). The discrepancy in emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gases can be analysed from different points of view. The Kyoto accord imposes limited or "capped" quotas on each country, taking special circumstances into account. As the natural, economic, industrial and even historical conditions of the nations are significantly different so are the absolute and relative CO2 emissions. For instance, a surprising conclusion can be drawn from the data in Fig. 9, where specific CO2 emissions are shown for several regions and countries. According to these data the Gulf countries are the biggest per-capita emitters, while the highly developed countries, like the USA, Germany, etc., rank lower on the list. Obviously, the sequence of countries can be explained by the fact that the energy demand rapidly increases in the OPEC countries and the energy is solely produced from hydrocarbons.

Qatar UAE USA Saudi-A Holland Russia

Bahrein Kuvait Canada Finland Germany Hungary

Figure 9. Absolute CO2 emission per capita in several countries.

Qatar UAE USA Saudi-A Holland Russia

Bahrein Kuvait Canada Finland Germany Hungary

Figure 9. Absolute CO2 emission per capita in several countries.

In the media we may more frequently observe the data presented in Fig. 10. Since the absolute output of CO2 is population dependent, the USA is by far the biggest emitter, having a share of roughly 30% of the global CO2 emissions annually (US-DOE, 2004; 2005). Although the government of the USA defends its decision not to sign the Kyoto accord claiming a similar CO2 absorption (i.e. zero release), this explanation is not widely accepted yet. Consequently, environmental agencies are supporting efforts to find and use alternative energy sources, instead of fossil fuels. In 2002 a remarkable part of the global energy production already came from alternatives, like hydro, solar, wind and geothermal sources (Fig.11). It is also hopeful that the annual growth rate of renewable energies, particularly of non-polluting solar and wind, has been accelerating recently, while the use of fossil fuels is basically stagnant.

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Qatar UAE USA Saudi-A Holland Russia

Bahrein Kuvait Canada Finland Germany Hungary

Figure 10. Absolute CO2 emission in several countries.

Figure 10. Absolute CO2 emission in several countries.

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Coal Nuclear Renewable

Figure 11. Contribution of different sources to global energy production in 2002.

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Recently, a promising decision by the European countries has been to pledge to significantly increase the contribution of renewable energy sources to help meet national energy demand (US-DOE, 2004; Shell, 2001). But the situation, shown in Fig. 12, is not consistent. In some countries, such as Denmark, a radical increase in the use of renewable energy is planned, while in other countries the incremental change will be negligible. The options are partly hindered because the use of renewable energy is already high (Austria and Sweden), or because of unfavourable natural and climatic conditions. For instance, the morphological conditions, number of sunny days and wind conditions are definitely unfavourable for wide scale application of solar and wind renewables in Hungary and thus only geothermal energy offers a realistic possibility to increase the percentage of "clean energy". Unfortunately, extensive agricultural research programs focussed on wood and biofuels (being less harmful than coal and hydrocarbons) will also result in a measurable CO2 emission.

Danmark France Holland Finland UK

Figure 12. Decision of the European countries to increase the share of renewable energy.

Danmark France Holland Finland UK

Figure 12. Decision of the European countries to increase the share of renewable energy.

At the present time the annual carbon emission rate is in the range of 57 109 t/y and great efforts have been made to predict global emission over the coming years. Diverse mathematical models have been developed which address not only technical but also social factors which influence emission rates to anticipate the equivalent carbon emissions. According to the most probable prognosis (Arscott, 2003), carbon emissions will develop as shown in Fig. 13. Although the simulation has a gradually increasing uncertainty with time, the results indicate that the summarized equivalent carbon emission rate can be as high as 30 1 09t/y, approximately six times higher than the present value, by the end of the century. This disturbing forecast puts added urgency on the need to use clean, non-polluting fuels. Parallel with that trend, there is also a need to implement emission trading and apply efficient and innovative CO2 sequestration methods world-wide.

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Figure 13. Anticipated global CO2 emission in 2050 and 2100.

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Figure 13. Anticipated global CO2 emission in 2050 and 2100.

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