Carbon dioxide (CO2)
This section presents an overview of:
- CO2 emissions and the role of organic carbon,
- major trends in CO2 emissions from 1970-2005,
- importance of different CO2 emissions source categories, and
- emissions on 0.1 degree grid.
Depending on the application of our emissions data, users might be interested in including or excluding CO2 emissions from organic carbon like combustion of biofuels (IPCC 1A), field burning of agricultural waste (4F), large scale biomass burning such as Savanna burning (4E), Grassland fires (5C) and forest fires (5A) or waste incineration of renewable wastes (6C).
In the EDGAR emission files of annual CO2 emissions by country and sector, the following sources of organic carbon are separated out of the national totals and presented separately (in the same file) as memo items. Please note the following when considering including organic carbon CO2 emissions in your studies:
Combustion of biofuels and incineration of renewable wastes:
The net contribution to increasing atmospheric CO2 depends on the degree in which the carbon uptake of the biofuels during re-growing is equal to the carbon release during combustion. The sustainability of carbon uptake/release of the different biofuels (e.g. wood, vegetal waste, biodiesel, etc) has not been addressed in EDGARv4.0 calculations. The same principle applies for organic carbon in waste.
Short cycle carbon:
Emissions from agricultural waste burning, savanna burning, and grassland fires are assumed to have a short carbon cycle which means that the burned crops, grasslands and savanna fields have regrown within a year and therefore do not contribute to a net increase in atmospheric CO2.
Forest fires and land use change
CO2 emissions from forest-fires, followed by post-burn and decay, results in a net contribution to increasing atmospheric CO2 because regrowth (i.e. storage of carbon) will take many years. EDGARv4.0 emissions include both natural and anthropogenic forest fires based on data from the projects GFED, RETRO and own calculations (see methodology section). EDGARv4.0 does not estimate other than fire related emissions of land use and land use change.
EDGARv4.0 does not estimate land use change CO2 emissions or update such as post-harvest CO2 emissions after deforestation or net CO2 sinks from carbon storage in maturing (growing) forests and in forested areas.
Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are presented here following the source definition of the IPCC inventory/Kyoto Protocol, which means CO2 emissions excluding other combustion and burning of organic carbon than emissions from forest-fires followed by post-burn and decay emissions.
Global CO2 emissions show an increase from ~21 Pg CO2 in 1970 to ~36 Pg in 2005 (Figure 1). The strong global inter-annual variation is due to forest-fires emissions. Excluding these forest fires emissions, the industrialized countries show a modest increase in emissions (~13 to ~16 Pg CO2) and the developing countries show a strong emissions trend from ~3 to ~15 Pg CO2).
CO2 emissions are dominated by emissions from fuel combustion. Other important sources are industrial processes and forest fires (Figure 2). In general, a strong increasing trend is occurring in the fuel combustion sector (Figure 3), especially due to an increase in electricity and heat production and an increase in road transport. Residential emissions remain rather constant over time, as do emissions from industrial combustion and non-road transport. Especially emissions from the residential sector show the effects of fuel shift over time from traditional fuels and oil products towards natural gas and electricity. Emissions from industrial processes show a modest increase from 1970-1995, followed by a strong increase in the metal production and production of building materials such as cement (Figure 4). Emissions from forest fires (Figure 5) show a strong inter-annual variation as well as an important contribution of post-burn and decay emissions.
Emissions by country and sector are allocated to a spatial grid of 0.1 x 0.1 degree. See methodology section for information on spatial allocation maps applied for the relevant CO2 sectors. An illustration is presented in Figure 6 with global gridded carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel and other anthropogenic emissions (excluding aviation and organic carbon emissions).
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