AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

Papers on anthropogenic CO2 emissions

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on June 3, 2010

This is a list of papers on carbon dioxide emissions from anthropogenic sources with emphasis on the global estimates. Note that also some direct observations (although regional) have been done relating to this issue. The list is not complete, and will most likely be updated in the future in order to make it more thorough and more representative.

Consumption-based accounting of CO2 emissions – Davis & Caldeira (2010) “Much attention has been focused on the CO2 directly emitted by each country, but relatively little attention has been paid to the amount of emissions associated with the consumption of goods and services in each country. … Here, using the latest available data, we present a global consumption-based CO2 emissions inventory and calculations of associated consumption-based energy and carbon intensities. We find that, in 2004, 23% of global CO2 emissions, or 6.2 gigatonnes CO2, were traded internationally, primarily as exports from China and other emerging markets to consumers in developed countries. In some wealthy countries, including Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the United Kingdom, and France, >30% of consumption-based emissions were imported, with net imports to many Europeans of >4 tons CO2 per person in 2004″

Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions – Raupach et al. (2007) “CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning and industrial processes have been accelerating at a global scale, with their growth rate increasing from 1.1% y−1 for 1990–1999 to >3% y−1 for 2000–2004. The emissions growth rate since 2000 was greater than for the most fossil-fuel intensive of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions scenarios developed in the late 1990s. Global emissions growth since 2000 was driven by a cessation or reversal of earlier declining trends in the energy intensity of gross domestic product (GDP) (energy/GDP) and the carbon intensity of energy (emissions/energy), coupled with continuing increases in population and per-capita GDP.” [Full text]

World Carbon Dioxide Emissions: 1950–2050 – Schmalensee et al. (2006) “Emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels, which may contribute to long-term climate change, are projected through 2050 using reduced-form models estimated with national-level panel data for the period of 1950–1990. Using the same set of income and population growth assumptions as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we find that the IPCC’s widely used emissions growth projections exhibit significant and substantial departures from the implications of historical experience.” [Full text]

Historical CO2 emission and concentrations due to land use change of croplands and pastures by country – de Campos et al. (2005) “This work is aimed at estimating the historical land use change emission and concentrations of CO2 by country. Calculating the area differences of each biome (associated to carbon factors) converted to cropland (including urban areas) and pastures by country we calculated the land use change CO2 emission over the past 300 years using a new dataset, which is a well known one in the literature: the HYDE land use database. According to IPCC-SR-LULUCF (2000) the net cumulative global CO2 emission from land use change (1850–1990) is estimated to have been 499±205 Tg CO2, our result is 360 Tg CO2 for the same period, and Houghton’s (Houghton, RA, 2003a. Revised estimates of the annual net flux of carbon to the atmosphere from changes in land use and land management 1850–2000. Tellus 55B, 378–390) result is 492 Tg CO2.”

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel use, 1751–1950 – Andres et al. (1999) “Newly compiled energy statistics allow for an estimation of the complete time series of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel use for the years 1751 to the present. The time series begins with 3 × 106 metric tonnes carbon (C). This initial flux represents the early stages of the fossil-fuel era. The CO2 flux increased exponentially until World War I. The time series derived here seamlessly joins the modern 1950 to present time series. Total cumulative CO2 emissions through 1949 were 61.0 × 109 tonnes C from fossil-fuel use, virtually all since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution around 1860. The rate of growth continues to grow during present times, generating debate on the probability of enhanced greenhouse warming. In addition to global totals, national totals and 1° global distributions of the data have been calculated.”

Estimates of seasonal variation in fossil fuel CO2 emissions – Rotty (1987) “Seasonal variations are evident in the atmospheric CO2 concentration, and attempts to understand the causes of the variations require an estimate of the seasonal pattern of the fossil fuel CO2 source term. Estimates were made of CO2 emissions resulting from fossil fuel combustion on a month-to-month basis for a recent typical year (1982). Twenty-one countries account for over 86% of the fossil fuel emissions. Monthly fuel consumption was used directly for those countries where such fuel data were available, and for the others (e.g., USSR and China) fuel use data were deduced from other factors. Results indicate that CO2 emissions from gas fuel use show the largest seasonal variation, from 6.2% of the annual total in July or August to over 11.8% of the annual total in January. Liquid and solid fuel use shows less variation, with summer fractions about 7.8% of annual and winter about 9.2% of annual. Seasonal patterns are consistent throughout the Northern Hemisphere which dominates the global totals. Based on data for 87% of the world’s fossil fuel CO2 emissions, the highest release rate is 389.1 million tons of carbon in January and the lowest is 307.8 million tons of carbon in August.”

CO2 from fossil fuel burning: global distribution of emissions – Marland et al. (1985) “This paper describes an estimate of the areal distribution of CO2 emissions from energy sources. … Fuel consumption data by country, by state within the US, and by province in Canada are used to calculate CO2 emissions. … The final tabulation shows that 90% of total emissions are from the latitude band 20°–60° N, with the highest individual numbers from the grid spaces containing Frankfurt, London, and Tokyo.”

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels: a procedure for estimation and results for 1950–1982 – Marland & Rotty (1984) “Results of the calculations for 1980 through 1982 show decreases from 1979 CO2 emissions. This is the first time since the end of World War II that the emissions have decreased 3 years in succession. During the period following the 1973 escalation of fuel prices, the growth rate of emissions has been less than half what it was during the 1950s and 1960s (1.5%/year since 1973 as opposed to 4.5%/year through the 1950s and 1960s). Most of the change is a result of decreased growth in the use of oil.”

Closely related

Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions – Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center

A Response to Climate Change: Cumulative Emissions of CO2

Estimates of Global, Regional, and National Annual CO2 Emissions from Fossil-Fuel Burning, Hydraulic Cement Production, and Gas Flaring: 1950-1992 – Boden et al. (1995) Apparently a non-peer-reviewed document. “This document describes the compilation, content, and format of the most comprehensive CO2-emissions database currently available. The database includes global, regional, and national annual estimates of CO2 emissions resulting from fossil-fuel burning, cement manufacturing, and gas flaring in oil fields for 1950-92 as well as the energy production, consumption, and trade data used for these estimates.”


6 Responses to “Papers on anthropogenic CO2 emissions”

  1. Watching the Deniers said

    Thanks again, I’ll be reading through these materials. Once again, I can’t recommend your site highly enough, and I try to link to it as much as I can. I think AGW Observer is one of the best sources on the science of climate change on the web. Without your site, my understanding of AGW would have taken longer to develop and would be more patchy. Through here I’ve read the key papers, and have grown to understand the basic concepts of global warming. Keep up the great work Ari.

  2. Ari Jokimäki said

    Thank you! 🙂

    Mind you, it must be noted that the theoretical side is under-represented here. Perhaps something I need to work on in the future. So I think that there are lot of key papers still to come…

    This particular list was rather difficult and as you can see, it’s clearly on the shorter side of my lists. Perhaps there just aren’t that many papers that have studied the global situation of all emission types or then my paper searching skills failed on this one. At some point I might do own lists for different emission types (traffic, land-use, etc.).

  3. Scott said

    Jävligt bra Ari!

    Muy Bien, Ari,

    Good Job, Ari!

    I have been in a running battle with deniers on message boards, and yet still try to work a 40 hour week. Your website may save me hours of research, as you seem to have picked articles that are basic, compelling and address the general public (well at least those with a learning curve and an open mind–sometimes a tall order).

    Is English a second language for you? If it is, it’s damned good; if it’s your first language, it’s still good! (hee hee).


  4. Ari Jokimäki said

    Thank you, Scott! 🙂

    I originally thought that the target audience of my blog would be just the people battling the deniers, so it’s nice that you found your way here. English is my second language (Finnish being the first).

  5. robin said


    You may find the following material on CO2 emissions that I have posted here of interest It includes some additional references.


  6. Ari Jokimäki said

    Thank you, Robin, I added your piece to the “closely related” section.

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