Human Yearly CO2 Emissions

 Most recent data from Global Carbon Project

What are the Human Yearly CO2 Emissions?

This refers to the total yearly CO2 emitted through human activities, such as the combustion of fossil fuels, expressed in gigatonnes. In the scientific literature, it is referred to as anthropogenic emissions. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are critical because they are the main driver of the increasing atmospheric CO2 that is warming the Earth. Human-made CO2 emissions also cause an increase in CO2 absorption by the ocean, which leads to ocean acidification.

There is an important distinction between net and gross emissions that we must bear in mind. Gross emissions are the total sum of emissions from human activity that emit CO2 into the atmosphere. Net emissions take the absorption by human activities into account to highlight the net effect of human activities.

Wikipedia: Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Global Carbon Project: Global Carbon Budget Presentation

Units and measures

CO2 emissions are expressed in the total weight in gigatonnes per year.

Wikipedia: Gigatonne

Insights from this chart

Up until the 1940s, a long period of a slow and steady rise in CO2 emissions was driven by coal combustion and land-use changes, such as deforestation. There was a temporary decrease of emissions during the two world wars and the Great Depression. After the Second World War there was a strong rise in oil use, which led to a 20-year period of increasing emissions. Through the 70s, 80s and 90s, emissions still increased every year, but more slowly, with some years of decrease around the two oil crises and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The significant peak in 1997 is from Indonesian forest fires due to changes in land use.

In the early 2000s, rapid development in China caused a major increase in emissions from coal combustion. The USA and Europe, which have historically emitted the most CO2 emissions, have seen a decrease in emissions since roughly 2008, mostly from reduced coal combustion.

About the data

The Global Carbon Project data for human emissions is the sum of fossil CO2 emissions plus land-use change emissions. The fossil data is based on four main datasets containing global and national CO2 emissions. The uncertainty in global fossil CO2 emissions is estimated at ±5%. The land use change emissions are based on three bookkeeping models; these models also estimate the land-use change absorption. There are large uncertainties in the land-use values before 1960.

The values for 2022 are projections by the Global Carbon Project. The 2022 projection for the atmosphere is updated based on the monthly values from NOAA, which are in the Yearly CO2 Atmospheric Increase chart.

Yearly CO2 Atmospheric Increase

Data sources

Global Carbon Budget 2022 Global Carbon Project
Credits: Friedlingstein et al (2022) - full reference below**Update cycle: yearlyDelay: ~9 months after end of yearReference: ** Global Carbon Budget 2022, by Pierre Friedlingstein, Michael O'Sullivan, Matthew W. Jones, Robbie M. Andrew, Luke Gregor, Judith Hauck, Corinne Le Quéré, Ingrid T. Luijkx, Are Olsen, Glen P. Peters, Wouter Peters, Julia Pongratz, Clemens Schwingshackl, Stephen Sitch, Josep G. Canadell, Philippe Ciais, Robert B. Jackson, Simone R. Alin, Ramdane Alkama, Almut Arneth, Vivek K. Arora, Nicholas R. Bates, Meike Becker, Nicolas Bellouin, Henry C. Bittig, Laurent Bopp, Frédéric Chevallier, Louise P. Chini, Margot Cronin, Wiley Evans, Stefanie Falk, Richard A. Feely, Thomas Gasser, Marion Gehlen, Thanos Gkritzalis, Lucas Gloege, Giacomo Grassi, Nicolas Gruber, Özgür Gürses, Ian Harris, Matthew Hefner, Richard A. Houghton, George C. Hurtt, Yosuke Iida, Tatiana Ilyina, Atul K. Jain, Annika Jersild, Koji Kadono, Etsushi Kato, Daniel Kennedy, Kees Klein Goldewijk, Jürgen Knauer, Jan Ivar Korsbakken, Peter Landschützer, Nathalie Lefèvre, Keith Lindsay, Junjie Liu, Zhu Liu, Gregg Marland, Nicolas Mayot, Matthew J. McGrath, Nicolas Metzl, Natalie M. Monacci, David R. Munro, Shin-Ichiro Nakaoka, Yosuke Niwa, Kevin O'Brien, Tsuneo Ono, Paul I. Palmer, Naiqing Pan, Denis Pierrot, Katie Pocock, Benjamin Poulter, Laure Resplandy, Eddy Robertson, Christian Rödenbeck, Carmen Rodriguez, Thais M. Rosan, Jörg Schwinger, Roland Séférian, Jamie D. Shutler, Ingunn Skjelvan, Tobias Steinhoff, Qing Sun, Adrienne J. Sutton, Colm Sweeney, Shintaro Takao, Toste Tanhua, Pieter P. Tans, Xiangjun Tian, Hanqin Tian, Bronte Tilbrook, Hiroyuki Tsujino, Francesco Tubiello, Guido R. van der Werf, Anthony P. Walker, Rik Wanninkhof, Chris Whitehead, Anna Willstrand Wranne, Rebecca Wright,Wenping Yuan, Chao Yue, Xu Yue, Sönke Zaehle, Jiye Zeng, and Bo Zheng (2022), Earth System Science Data, 14, 4811–4900, 2022, DOI: 10.5194/essd-14-4811-2022.