According to a report by the international Renewable Energy Industry Institute based in Germany, the total levels of global greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high last year at 34 billion tons. China led the pack with 8.9 billion tons, outpacing the United States at 6 billion tons. Nations around the world have pumped 800 million more tons of CO2 into the atmosphere than in 2010 and show no signs of slowing.

Beijing, Traffic Jam, China, tail lights, highway traffic

This November and December, the leaders of the world will assemble in Doha, Qatar for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to discuss measures that will address the threat of global climate change. In the wake of massive storms, droughts, and melting arctic ice, heads of nations will have to face the harsh reality that CO2 levels have increased, negatively impacting the fight towards curbing human’s effects on the atmosphere.

In 1990, the global greenhouse gas output was estimated at 22.7 billion tons. Two decades later, it has reached 34 billion tons, with rapidly industrializing China accounting for the lion’s share. The United States places second at 6.0 billion tons, with India ranking third with 1.8 billion tons, followed by Russia at 1.7 billion tons, Japan with 1.3 billion tons, and Germany at 804 million tons. The report stated that among the top 10 greenhouse gas polluters, Russia, Germany, and the United States all made strides in reducing their emissions in 2011 based on figures from the previous year. These figures were based off of information provided by BP detailing the global consumption of fossil fuels.

“If the current trend continues then global CO2 emissions will rise another 20 percent by the year 2020 to reach 40 billion tons of CO2,” said IWR director Norbert Allnoch. Moving forward, the UNFCC will discuss renewing commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, with the first cuts under the agreement expire at the end of this year. The new established incarnation of the Protocol is not expected until 2015 and will not be put into action until 2020.


photos by Belinda RainKleineolive and Kallgan