The record of recent Man-made CO2 emissions: 1965 -2013

The following calculations and graphics are based on information on national CO2 emission levels worldwide published by BP[1]in June 2014 for the period from 1965 up until the end of 2013.  The data is well corroborated by previous similar datasets published by the CDIAC, Guardian [2] and Google up until 2009 [3].

These notes and figures provide a short commentary on that CO2 emissions history.

The contrast between the developed and developing worlds is stark in terms of their history of CO2 emissions and the likely prognosis for their future CO2 output.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 09.41.32

Since 1980 CO2 emissions from the developed world have shown virtually no increase, whereas the developing world has had a fourfold increase since 1980: that increase is accelerating.
Similarly the CO2 output per head is declining in the developed world whereas it is accelerating the developing world.

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 13.08.02

In October 2010 Professor Richard Muller made the dilemma for all those who hope to control global warming by reducing CO2 emissions clear: in essence he said[4]:

“the Developing World is not joining-in with CO2 emission reductions nor does it have any intention of doing so.

The failure of worldwide action negates the unilateral action of any individual western Nation”.

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 09.30.34

This presentation divides the world nations into seven logical groups with distinct attitudes to CO2 control:


  • United States of America, attempting CO2 emissions control under Obama’s EPA.
  • The European Union, (including the UK), currently believers in action to combat Global Warming.
  • Japan, the former Soviet Union, Canada and Australia are developed nations, rejecting controls on CO2 emissions.


  • South Korea, Iran, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan: more advanced developing nations, still developing rapidly, (KR IR ZA MX SA BR ID TW).
  • China and Hong Kong: developing very rapidly.
  • India: developing rapidly from a low base.
  • Rest of World (~160 Nations): developing rapidly from a low base.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 14.31.32

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 13.01.26These graphs of total CO2 emission history show that up until 2013:

  • there has been a stabilisation or reduction of emissions from developed economies since 1980.
  • the USA, simply by exploiting shale gas for electricity generation, has already reduced its CO2 emissions by some 9.5% since 2005[5]. That alone has already had more CO2 emission reduction effect than the entire Kyoto protocol[6] [7].
  • CO2 emissions from the developed economies rejecting action on CO2 have hardly grown since 2005.
  • the European Union (27) has reduced its CO2 emissions by ~14% since 2005.


  • CO2 emissions from the developing world as a whole overtook the developed world in 2007 and are now a third larger than the developed world’s CO2 emissions.
  • there has been a very rapid escalation of Chinese CO2 emissions since the year 2000[8].
  • China overtook the USA CO2 emissions in 2006, and Chinese emissions are now ~62% greater than the USA, the escalation in Chinese CO2 emissions continues. Chinese emissions have grown by +75% since 2005 and China continues to build coal fired powerstations to supply the bulk of its electricity as demand grows.
  • India has accelerating emissions[9], growing from a low base by +63% since 2005. India too is building coal fired powerstations to increase the supply of electricity as 25% of its population still has no access to electric power.
  • there is inexorable emissions growth from the Rest of the World economies, from a low base, they have grown by +30% since 2005.

So any CO2 emissions reduction achieved by the Developed Nations will be entirely negated by the increases in CO2 emissions from Developing Nations.

However probably more significant than the total CO2 emissions output is the comparison of the emissions/head for the various nation groups.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 15.47.02

  • The EU(27) even with active legal measures have maintained a fairly level CO2 emission rate but have managed to reduce their CO2 emissions/head by ~16% since 2005. Much of the recent downward trend is largely attributed to their declining economies.
  • The USA has already reduced its CO2 emissions/head by ~22% since in 2005, mainly arising from the use of shale gas for electricity generation. And now Mr Putin is actively involved in backing anti-fracking campaigns in Europe so as to protect his largest Gasprom market and to have an energy stranglehold on the West, as he has demonstrated recently in the Ukraine[10].
  • Russia, Japan, Canada and Australia have only grown their emissions/head by ~1% since 2005.
  • China’s CO2 emissions/head have increased ~11 fold since 1965. China overtook the world-wide average in 2003 and surpassed the rapidly developing nations in 2006. China’s emissions / head at 7.0 tonnes / head are now approaching the level of the EU(27) nations.
  • India’s CO2 emissions have grown by 4.7 times over the period and are now showing recent modest acceleration. That increasing rate is likely to grow substantially with increased use of coal for electricity generation[11].

When the participating nations particularly EU(27) are compared with Chinese CO2 emissions/head, an interesting picture arises:

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 15.53.14

Chinese CO2 emissions at 7.01mt/head for its 1.4 billion population are already ~43% greater than the worldwide average. Those emissions are still growing fast.

At 5.5mt/head, France, with ~80% nuclear electricity generation, has the lowest CO2 emission rates in the developed world and is at only ~12% above the world-wide average.

China’s CO2 emissions/head exceeded France’s CO2 emissions/head in 2009 and are now ~22% higher.

The UK at 7.2mt/head is now only ~48% higher than the world-wide average and only about ~3% higher than China. So China is likely to overtake the UK in the near future.

Germany, one of the largest CO2 emitters in Europe, has emissions/head ~100% higher than the worldwide average and is still ~49% higher than China. Germany’s emissions/head have increased recently because they are now burning much larger quantities of brown coal to compensate for the “irrational” closure of their nuclear generating capacity.

This must question the logic of Green attitudes in opposing Nuclear power. Following the Fukushima disaster, the German government position of rapidly eliminating nuclear power in a country with no earthquake risk and no chance of tsunamis should not be tenable.

If CO2 emissions really were a concern to arrest Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming / Man-made Climate Change, these results particularly from France show starkly the very real advantage of using Nuclear power for electricity generation.

Professor Fritz Vahrenholt was CEO of RWE Innogy, the major German windpower supplier, he had pioneered Germany’s significant advances in renewable energy, especially in the development of wind power.

Previously Professor Vahrenholt had fully accepted the IPCC reports as the foundation of his understanding of mankind’s effect on climate change. However, with his scientific background as chemist, he re-examined IPCC reports in detail. He found many errors, inconsistencies and unsupported assertions.

Accordingly he has now entirely revised his position.


Professor Vahrenholt’s diagram below is from his July 2012 lecture at the Royal Society [12] [13].

It shows the miniscule impact of the enormously costly efforts at decarbonisation in Germany, (die Energiewende), in comparison with the inevitable escalation of CO2 emissions from the rest of the world.

The underdeveloped nations are bound to become progressively more industrialised and more intensive users of fossil fuels to power their development and widen their distribution of electricity throughout their populations.

This is the only rational way that those nations can advance their development status.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 14.12.41

The futility of the expenditure of vast resources on Green activities in Germany becomes clear.

German actions with its increasing risks to energy security and the growing risk to the German economy as its manufacturing industries seek more congenial energy / business environments, could only ever reduce Germany’s CO2 emissions by ~150,000,000 tonnes between 2006 and 2030.

That would only amount to ~1/100 of the concomitant growth in other CO2 emissions from the developing world.

According to Bjorn Lomborg the ~€125billion German investment in solar power alone, not including other renewable investments, can only reduce the onset of Global Warming by a matter of about 37 hours by the year 2100[14].

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 11.42.05

This point is re-emphasised above, by cross comparing the annual growth in emissions from China and India with the full annual emissions from key European countries. Chinese CO2 emissions growth in some years can exceed the total UK and French emissions level and even approach the German level on occasions.

Professor Varhenholt is now convinced that it is nature and in particular the behaviour of the sun that is responsible for our continually changing climate, and as he said as the final point of his Royal society lecture:

“This change can only develop first with a revolution of our minds.”

and to paraphrase Bill Clinton

“It’s not mankind creating climate. It’s the sun: stupid.”

Professor Varhenholt and his colleague Sebastian Luening have now published a best seller in Germany “Die Kalte Sonne”, the book now released in English as

“The Neglected Sun: Why the Sun Precludes Climate Catastrophe”[15].
















3 thoughts on “The record of recent Man-made CO2 emissions: 1965 -2013

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  3. Pingback: Klimadeal zwischen Obama und China bis 2030 – eine Betrachtung des Ergebnisses – EIKE – Europäisches Institut für Klima & Energie

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