Many of the world’s largest developed nations experienced a drop in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2009. China and India, however, saw their own domestic emissions levels rise significantly. Has this growth in effect “canceled out” the reductions made in developed nations? According to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the answer is yes.
Global emissions levels remained relatively unchanged in 2009 largely because of Chinese and Indian contributions, despite predictions from groups such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) which thought the global economic meltdown and decrease in manufacturing would assuredly reduce emissions worldwide.
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency notes that carbon dioxide emissions per person in China are now 6.1 tons, roughly equal to France which clocked in at 6.0 tons in 2009. This figure represents a major increase for China, which in 1990 emitted only 2.2 tons per capita. Interestingly, this increase comes Chinese wind and solar energy capacity has doubled for the fifth year in a row.
Because of its use of nuclear energy, French emissions are actually on the lower end of the scale in comparison to other developed nations. Per capita emissions in other EU member nations were 7.9 tons in 2009, down from 9.1 tons in 1990, while per capita emissions in the United Sates fell to 17.2 tons in 2009, decreasing from 19.5 tons in 1990.
All in all, the Dutch agency now reports that 53% of 2009 global emissions came from developing nations, with 44% coming from the developed world. International air and sea transportation accounts for the remaining 3%.