EUROPA - EDGAR download emissions on grid

High resolution digital view of man-made green house gas (GHG) emissions

16 December, 2009.

These add-on layers to Google Earth allow easily visualization of the annual distribution of GHG emissions all over the world at local levels from 1970-2005 and by main emission sources in the year 2005. The shown grid size is a tenth of a geographical degree of latitude by the same extension in longitude, or simplified, a circa 10 km x 10 km square, roughly the size of central Paris. Data used in the visualization come from JRC and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency’s (PBL) Emission Database for Global Research (EDGAR), and its dataset released in May this year (EDGAR v4.0)
Normally the EDGAR spatial emission datasets are used by scientist for global and regional atmospheric chemistry and climate modeling. Through Google Earth the same information can be shown to the general public to create awareness of how emissions are unevenly distributed over the globe, even within countries and the different evolution of emissions in the world over time.

Available Data

Two files can be downloaded:

  • EDGAR GHG viewer 2005: Emissions by sector as shown in Figure 1
    Note 1:  excl. land use change and forestry emissions
  • EDGAR GHG viewer 1970-2005: total emissions as shown in Figure 1
    Note 1: excluding aviation and land use change and forestry
    Note 2: Due to large amount of files/data, expect long loading times for movie to play.
    Note 3: Total emissions are in lower graphical quality then sector files.

Figure 1: Global greenhouse emissions expressed in Pg CO2 equivalents in the five sectors represented in Google Earth and land use change and forestry emissions.


Emissions by country and sector are taken from the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research version 4.0. The EDGAR project uses the latest scientific information and data from international statistics on energy production and consumption, industrial manufacturing, agricultural production, waste treatment and disposal and burning of biomass in order to model historical and present day emissions for all countries in the world in a comparable and consistent manner. Details on the methodologies and data applied are presented at:

The data presented here covers carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorcarbons (HFCs), perfluorcarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). In order to compare different greenhouse gas emissions the emissions of individual gases have to be converted into CO2-equivalents. The metric for this conversion is the Global Warming Potential expressing the contribution to global warming of the specific greenhouses in relation to carbon dioxide. Throughout this background document the 100 year GWP values as used in the Kyoto Protocol are applied.

A geographical database has been build using grid maps with 0.1°x0.1° resolution based on data such as location of energy and manufacturing facilities, road networks, shipping routes, human and animal population density and agricultural land use. A screening of the available geographic datasets has been performed for each emission source category with as main criteria coherent spatial coverage and reliability.

Table 1 presents the different geographic datasets that have been used to allocate country by sector emissions on 0.1 degree grid, their coverage of 2005 emissions (in %) and the source of information.

Spatial dataset%Reference
Power plants27.5Data from CARMA (, IEA Clean Coal Power, Platts World Electric Power Plants Database
Total population density16.5SEDAC’s Gridded Population of the World (GPW) v3
Road density11.5Modified from VMAP to combine with population density
Urban population11.5SEDAC’s Gridded Population of the World (GPW) v3
Cattle density5.2Global livestock mapping project by the Food and Agriculture Organization's Animal Production and Health Division (FAO-AGA).
Steel production3.2EDGARv32 and Iron and Steel Institute
Cement production2.8USGS Minerals Yearbook
Blast furnaces2.6EDGARv32 and Iron and Steel Institute
Rural populations2.3SEDAC’s Gridded Population of the World (GPW) v3
Underground hard coal mining1.9Modified from World Mining Journal
Aviation1.8AERO2k project,
Rice production1.7Modified from
Cropland/grassland1.6Modified from HYDE
Oil refineries1.6 Based Oil & Gas Journal 2006 Worldwide Refining Survey.
Combined urban/rural population1.5 SEDAC’s Gridded Population of the World (GPW) v3
Ships1.3 Wang, C., Corbett, J. J., and Firestone, J.: Improving Spatial Representationof Global Ship Emissions Inventories, Environ. Sci. Technol., 42, 193–199, 2008
Other (27 indicators)7.9 -


The emissions data shown in the Google Earth add-on are a modeled result. Ideally one would need to measure each individual emission source per grid cell, this is however practically impossible. The gridded emissions as visible via Google Earth will not exactly reproduce the “real” emission. Our method of verification of our spatial emissions data is the application of these datasets in atmospheric chemistry modeling and through evaluation of the modeled results by comparing these with measured datasets via ground based measurements or satellite observation.


This Google Earth Application has been developed by John van Aardenne and Valerio Pagliari of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) with contributions from Fulgencio SanMartin (now at OECD), Lorenzo Orlandini (now at DG AGRI), Suvi Monni (now at Benviroc), Jos Olivier (PBL), David Roux (JRC), Jeroen Peters (PBL), Ulrike Doering (JRC), Greet Maenhout (JRC), Frank Raes (JRC) and Harald Scholz (JRC).

The Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) is a joint project of the European Commission JRC Joint Research Centre and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).

We would like to acknowledge those institutes/organizations that have made important geographical datasets available in the public domain, see Table 1.


As the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.