Environment News


Written by Talent KAS

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:   

Environment [Paper-II]: Carbon Emission, Global Warming. National action plans on climate change and Disaster Management

Why in News?

Global Carbon Budget 2019 was released recently.

What is Global Carbon Budget?

  • Global Carbon Project has established an international consortium of institutions to track the trends in carbon emissions.
  • The project publishes the state of global carbon cycle annually since 2007, which is known as the Global Carbon Budget.

About Global Carbon Project

  • It is a Global Research Project of Future Earth and a research partner of the World Climate Research Programme.
  • It was formed to work with the international science community to establish a common and mutually agreed knowledge base to support policy debate and action to slow down and ultimately stop the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • It was established in 2001 by a shared partnership between the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and Diversitas.
  • This partnership constituted the Earth Systems Science Partnership (ESSP) which subsequently evolved into Future Earth.

Key Highlights

  • Global carbon emissions are set to grow more slowly in 2019, with a decline in coal burning offset by strong growth in natural gas and oil use worldwide.
  • This lower rate of growth is due to substantial declines in coal use in the EU and US, and slower growth in coal use in China and India compared to recent years.
  • Weaker economic growth has also contributed to this trend.

Emissions from fossil fuels and industry

  • Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry have increased every decade from an average of 11.4 gigatonnes of equivalent carbon in the 1960s to an average of 34.7 gigatonnes during 2009-2018.
  • Emissions in 2018 reached a new record high of 36.6 GtCO2.
  • Emissions from burning fossil fuels are projected to grow by 0.6 percent (range: -0.2 to +1.5 percent) this year.

Regional fossil fuel emissions

  • In 2018, global CO2 emissions were dominated by emissions from China (28%), the USA (15%), the EU 28 (9%) and India (7%).
  • Growth rates of these countries from 2017 to 2018 were +2.3% for China, +2.8% for the USA, -2.1% for the EU28, and +8.0% for India.

Emissions from land use change 

Net CO2 emissions from deforestation and other land-use change were 5.5±2.7 GtCO2 on average during 2009-2018, accounting for about 14% of all emissions from human activity (fossil fuel, industry, land use change).

CO2 removals by natural sinks

  • Of the total emissions from human activities during the period 2009-2018, about 45% accumulated in the atmosphere, 23% in the ocean and 29% on land.
  • During this period, the size of the natural sinks grew in response to the increasing emissions, though year-to-year variability of that growth is large.

Atmospheric CO2

  • Atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 407.4 parts per million in 2018 on average, and is projected to increase by 2.2 ppm in 2019 (+1.8 to +2.6 ppm) to reach 410 ppm averaged over the year.
  • Atmospheric CO2 concentration in 2019 is 47% above pre-industrial levels.

Cumulative Carbon Emissions

  • The cumulative carbon emissions are the sum of the total CO2 emitted during a given period of time.
  • Total cumulative emissions from 1850 to 2019 were 1649 GtCO2 from fossil fuels and industry, and 751 GtCO2 from land use change.

Indian Scenario

  • Growth in India’s carbon dioxide emissions this year was likely to be considerably lower than in the last few years.
  • India’s emissions in 2019 (2.6 billion tonnes or gigatonnes) was likely to be only 1.8 per cent higher than in 2018.
  • According to the report, the lower growth in CO2 emissions, though desirable is only a positive fallout of the slowdown in the Indian economy.


  • The numbers put out by Global Carbon Project offer important indicators to global trends in carbon dioxide emissions in near-real time.
  • The near-real time estimates put out by the project are based on datasets that monitor production and consumption trends of key indicators like electricity, oil and gas, cement, and chemicals and fertilisers.
  • The accounting of the carbon cycle allows the research community to understand and monitor the composition, processes, and trends of the global carbon cycle.
  • The carbon budget also provides a definite record of recent trends as well as a determinate idea of permissible emissions to achieve given targets.
  • While emissions levels can vary annually depending on economic growth and even weather trends, the Carbon Budget report shows how far nations still need to travel to drag down carbon pollution.

Way Forward

According to the members of Global Carbon Budget team, countries that decarbonised the fastest in the past decade generally shared three characteristics:

  • They had stable or declining energy use, from both energy efficiency and energy use
  • They deployed lots of renewable energy that replaced fossil energy
  • They had lots of climate and energy policies

[Source: Indian Express, globalcarbonproject.org]


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Talent KAS

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