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Atmospheric CO2

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Global Carbon Project: CO2 emissions from fossil fuels decreased by 5.4% in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. Emissions are expected to rebound close to pre-Covid levels in 2021.

Updated June 13, 2022

According to fossil fuel and cement production emissions data provided by the Global Carbon Project there was a record decrease in emissions in 2020, 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2). Emissions are projected to grow 4.9% in 2021, or 1.6 GtCO2.

While emissions for EU and USA will remain under 2019 levels in 2021, emissions from China are projected to be 5.5% above 2019 levels in 2021. Coal remains the number one source of CO2.

BloombergNEF: Cost of battery packs reduced by 80% since 2013

April 13, 2022

BloombergNEF's annual battery price survey finds that battery packs fell by 6% from 2020 to 2021 and by 80% from 2013 to 2021. However they also write that increasing commodity prices are having an impact on prices in the near term.

The survey looks at battery packs and battery cells for electric vehicles, buses and energy storage projects. Battery pack prices were lowest in China at $111 per kWh, prices in US and EU were 40 to 60% higher.

BloombergNEF also says: "...by 2024 average pack prices should be below $100/kWh. It is at around this price point that automakers should be able to produce and sell mass-market EVs at the same price (and with the same margin) as comparable internal combustion vehicles in some markets"

Cost of EU Emissions Allowances

March 12, 2022 | Chart updates daily

The EU ETS (Emissions Trading System) covers all EU member states plus Norway and Liechtenstein. Companies in the power generation and manufacturing sectors are required by EU law to purchase emission allowances for their greenhouse gas emissions. These allowances may be traded on the open market. There is a cap on the number of allowances in the market. The number of allowances is reduced over time, forcing a reduction in emissions.

The chart shows the market closing price of WisdomTree Carbon ETC (exchange traded commodity) which is designed to track the value of EU Emissions Allowances. The Y-axis is the approximate price per EU Emissions Allowance in euros per ton of CO2-equivalents.

The major drop in price in late February 2022 was due to the russian invasion of Ukraine.

Cost of Energy Production in Norway, 2021 and 2030: Onshore wind least expensive. Solar less expensive than fossil-fuels

February 11, 2022

NVE, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, regularly updates assumptions on energy production for various technologies. The latest update was January 31, 2022.

The chart shows LCOE (levelized cost of electricity) for new installations in 2021 and 2030, in NOK per kWh. LCOE is the cost per kWh for the entire lifetime of a new electricity generating plant, and includes investments, operations and fuels.

Onshore wind is currently the least expensive energy source for new installations, and will continue to decrease in cost dramatically over the next decade. Perhaps surprisingly, even in Norway solar photovoltaic ground installations are becoming competitive and will be less expensive than all other electricity sources except for onshore wind.

Cost of renewable power generation decreasing sharply, now competitive with fossil fuel based power generation

October 5, 2021

IRENA has updated their annual detailed study on the cost of utility-scale power generation at a global level based on renewable resources. The report shows a continuing decreasing trend in LCOE (levelised cost of electricity, which includes financial costs, operations, management etc) for renewable power generation: New solar and wind power plants are now less expensive than most coal-fired plants. Since 2010, the cost of utility scale solar power has decreased by 85% and the cost of on-shore wind has decreased by 56% with continuing price reduction expected.

According to IRENA, the comparable costs for newly commissioned fossil fuel based power plants varies from 0.055 $/kWh to 0.148 $/kWh.

Global oil production: almost 100 mb/d (million barrels per day) in 2019, 92 mb/d in 2020 due to Covid-19

Updated May 25, 2021

According to April 30 2021 data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA, global oil production is now about 92 million barrels per day, down from 98 mb/d in 2019.

According to the International Energy Agency IEA , global oil demand will reach 104 million barrels per day in 2026. The growth in demand will come from emerging and developing countries, with Asian oil demand increasing sharply. OECD demand is not expected to return to pre-Covid levels.

Food production and greenhouse gas emissions: Data from 119 countries and 38000 farms

April 30, 2021

Ourworldindata has an excellent article based on Poore and Nemecek 2018, based on data from 38000 farms in 119 countries. This is the most thorough analysis of farming and green house gas emissions to date.

The data represents global averages, hence there may be significant local differences. Interestingly, at a global level transport represents a small amount of the GHG emissions.

The data also shows that nuts and a few other foods have a negative land use change figure, as carbon is stored in the trees. Most other food sources require deforestation.

Data is reported as greenhouse gas emissions in kilograms of CO2-equivalents per 1 kilogram of food product.

Plastic Waste: Top Countries 2016

April 29, 2021

According to research by K.L.Law et.al. the top plastic waste producing countries in the world are USA and United Kingdom. USA generates 130 kg plastic waste per person every year - this is about 2.5 kg per person per week.

While EU citizens generate less than half of the waste compared to Americans, it is still more than 1 kg per week for every person. India and China are also big polluters, but not on a per capita basis with about 20 kg and 16 kg per person per year.

OECD/FAO: Global meat consumption keeps increasing, but consumption in 2019 was reduced due to African Swine Fever outbreak in Asia

April 26, 2021

OECD/FAO agricultural outlook shows how meat consumption is increasing globally. The reduction in consumption in 2019 is due to the African Swine Fever outbreak in Asia.

Consumption data is reported in kilograms per capita, using ready-to-cook retail weight.

OECD/FAO: US meat consumption at 3 times world average and 30 times that of some developing countries

April 27, 2021

OECD/FAO agricultural outlook shows how western countries consume far more meat than the world average. Top meat consuming countries are USA, Israel, Argentina, Australia with 90-100 kg meat per capita per year. Argentina is the top beef-consuming country with almost 40 kg beef per capita. Israel is top poultry consumer with 64 kg per capita.

Consumption data is reported in kilograms per capita, using ready-to-cook retail weight.

European Medicines Agency: Sales of antibiotics for food-producing animals in 31 European countries

March 25, 2021

A 2020 report from EMA shows that sales of antibiotics declined by 34% between 2011 and 2018. Figures are reported as 'mg per PCU', where 1 PCU is a metric ton of slaughtered animals (includes farmed fish).

Usage of antibiotics varies widely between countries.

Eindhoven University: Battery electric cars have at least 50% lower life-time CO2 emissions on standard EU electricity mix

March 2, 2021

A 2019 report from Eindhoven University 2019 shows that battery electric cars have significantly lower CO2 emissions compared to similar fossil-fueled cars over their lifetime using the EU electricity mix.

The report assumes that the cars are driven 250.000 km in their lifetime.

The report assumes an EU electricity mix is used, but also that this electricity mix will continue its trend towards lower CO2 emissions. The Polestar report below does not make this assumption, and probably overestimates the emissions of electric cars.

Polestar 2 battery electric vehicle life-cycle analysis: Lower CO2 emissions than a comparable petrol/gasoline powered car

March 1, 2021

In their own 2019 report, Polestar says that the Polestar 2 BEV (battery electric vehicle) has lower CO2 emissions during its lifetime than a Volvo XC40 ICE (internal combustion engine).

Assumptions in the report: Cars are driven 200.000 km in their lifetime. Chinese electricity mix is used for Polestar 2 manufacturing. Polestar battery cells are manufactured in China and Korea. Emissions for the XC40 includes 'well-to-tank' related emissions for petrol/gasoline.

The report finds that if the electricity is generated by wind power then the Polestar generates less than half of the CO2 emissions of an XC40 petrol/gasoline powered car. If the electricity is generated using an EU electricity mix then the emissions savings over the lifetime of the car is about 27%

Bitcoin power consumption is about 0.5% of global electricity consumption

February 17, 2021

This chart shows the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI) as estimated by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. If Bitcoin power consumption is 120 TWh per year, this is almost 0.5% of global electricity generation which was about 25 000 TWh in 2018 (see another chart on this page).

This chart is updated daily.

NASA: 2020 and 2016 were the warmest years on record; 1.2°C higher than global average surface temperature in the late 1800's.

Updated January 15, 2021

The NASA GISTEMPv4 dataset shows that the global average surface temperature in 2020 was equal to the temperature in 2016 - these are the two warmest years ever. Read the NASA post here

The HadCRUT4 dataset from Climatic Research Unit, Univ of East Anglia and Hadley Centre (UK Met Office) shows the same trend. Note that the HadCRUT dataset refers to the average of 1961-1990, so it is slightly offset compared to the NASA dataset. This chart is updated monthly.

The UAH datset from NSSTC, University of Alabama uses 1981-2010 as the reference so it offset from the other datasets, but is shows a similar increase in global temperatures.

Electrical and electronic waste in 2019: 7.3 kg per person on earth. Africa: 2.5kg per person, Norway: 24kg per person

October 7, 2020

The Global E-Waste Statistics Partnership has published the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 which shows that in 2019, the world generated 53.6 million tons of e-waste, or 7.3 kg of e-waste per person on earth.

The amount of e-waste generated has grown by 20% since 2014, and is expected to keep growing. Rich countries generate more e-waste per person than poor countries, with Norway generating the most. About 17.4%of all e-waste is documented to be recycled, unchanged since 2014.

CO2 emissions by global income group: The 10% richest people on earth are responsible for more than half of all CO2 emissions

September 21, 2020

This chart uses data from the Oxfam and Stockholm Environment Institute joint research report on how CO2 emissions are distributed between income groups.

The report shows that over the period from 1990 to 2015, the top 10% richest people on earth were responsible for more than half (52%) of all CO2 emitted in the period. The poorest 50% contributed only 7% of cumulative emissions. The middle 40% income group were behind 41% of all CO2 emissions.

Greenhouse Gas emissions by sector, 2016

September 17, 2020

This chart uses data from World Resources Institute and shows which sectors greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N20, etc) emissions originate from.

WRI provides an even more detailed analysis into each sector. As an example, while 15.9% of emissions are from transport, road transport is by far the largest contributor (11.9%) with air transport at 1.9% and ship at 1.7%. Rail contributes only 0.4%

Cost of electricity generation in the United States in 2025: Solar photovoltaic least expensive technology

September 10, 2020

A report from the US Energy Information Administration has estimated the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) generation for new plants coming online in the United States in 2025. LCOE includes all aspects of building and running plants such as financial costs, fuel, operations, management and more.

Photovoltaic solar plants will be the least expensive, with roughly the same costs as geothermal, combined cycle natural gas, and onshore wind turbines.

Coal-fired plants will remain an expensive option. As another post on our site shows, offshore wind costs are decreasing rapidly but remain high in the near term.

Cost of renewable power generation decreasing sharply, now competitive with fossil fuel based power generation

September 9, 2020

IRENA has published a detailed study on the cost of utility-scale power generation at a global level based on renewable resources. The report shows a clear trend in LCOE (levelised cost of electricity, which includes financial costs, operations, management etc) for renewable power generation: New solar and wind power plants are now less expensive than most coal-fired plants. Since 2019, the cost of utility scale solar power has decreased by 82%

According to IRENA, the comparable costs for fossil fuel based power plants varies from 0.05 $/kWh (new Chinese coal-fired plants located close to coal mines) to 0.177 $/kWh.

Will the Covid-19 pandemic cause a reduction in atmospheric CO2 levels? No.

Chart is updated daily

With reduced travel and reduced economic activity, global CO2 emissions might be lower than previous years. However, even slightly reduced CO2 emissions add to the overall CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

The chart uses data from NOAA ESRL Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, Colorado, USA and shows the atmospheric CO2 levels for each of the last 10 years. Ever since measurements started there has been a consistent increase in atmospheric CO2 of about 0.5 - 0.6% per year.

The atmospheric CO2 levels continues increasing year over year, as indicated by the upper line in the chart. This chart is updated daily based on measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory.

Covid-19 confirmed deaths per million per day per region

September 16, 2020  |  Chart updates daily

This chart uses data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE) and shows the daily number of confirmed Covid-19 Coronavirus deaths. The chart is updated every 24 hours.

In these charts, Northern America consists of USA, Canada, Greenland, Bermuda and St Pierre and Miquelon. Latin America consists of all countries south of the USA, including the Caribbean countries.

Covid-19 confirmed deaths per day

These charts use data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE)

The charts show the number of deaths per day averaged over the last seven days.

This chart is updated every 24 hours.

Covid-19 deaths per capita: Top 20 countries

Chart is updated daily

This chart uses data from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE) and shows the current top 20 countries hardest hit by Covid-19 in terms of confirmed deaths per one million inhabitants. Countries with less than 50000 inhabitants are not included.

This chart is updated every 24 hours. JHU CSSE updates their data around midnight UTC, this chart is automatically updated shortly thereafter.

We use 100 billion tons of resources per year. Half of it goes straight to waste.

According to the Circularity Gap Report 2020 we now (2017) use more than 100 billion tons (Gt) of resources every year. That's about 13 tons per person on earth. We use 24 Gt of biomass (plants and trees, seafoods and animals), 15 Gt of fossil fuels, and over 60 Gt of metal ores and minerals.

38% of resources are used for buildings, 21% for food and drink, 9-10% each for transport, healthcare and services, 7% for consumables such as clothing and other stuff, and 5% for communication.

In the end, 55% is wasted (either in the environment or collected) and 14% goes up in smoke. The rest, about 31% is in use. About 8% is recovered or reused.

CO2 emissions and GDP

With data from EIA, we can see a certain relationship between emissions and GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The chart uses GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) along the X-axis, and emissions per capita along the Y-axis.

In other words, poor regions with low emissions end up in the lower left hand corner, while rich regions with high emissions are in the top right hand corner.

Glaciers in Norway are shrinking

All glaciers tracked by NVE - Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate over the last 100 years are shrinking. The chart shows how the position of the front edge of the glaciers have retreated by between 600 meters and 3.1 kilometers (2 miles).

This particular chart is best viewed in landscape mode.

Atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing

The NOAA/ESRL (Earth Systems Research Laboratory) operates the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, collecting atmospheric data every hour since the 1950s.

Notice the saw-tooth pattern in the chart: There are more forests in the Northern hemisphere than in the Southern hemisphere. During the northern winter, the forests release CO2 to the atmospere. When spring comes in the north, forests starts consuming CO2 as part of photosynthesis and this reduces the level in the atmosphere.
The chart is updated monthly.

CO2 levels over the last 2000 years

This chart contains data from the Law Dome ice core drilled in East Antarctica. The CO2 data starts at year 154 and ends in 1996, and provides more detail than the "Vostok" dataset.

The Law Dome data set shows how atmospheric CO2 levels started rising sharply in the second half of the 1800's, when fossil fuels started powering the industrial revolution.

CO2 levels over the last 420.000 years

This chart contains data from the "Vostok" ice core drilled in Antarctica in 1998 as a collaborative project between France, Russia and USA. The CO2 data goes back over 400.000 years, and shows how CO2 levels in the air has varied between 180 and 280ppm through four climate cycles.

By combining the "Vostok" dataset with the Mauna Loa dataset, we clearly see the sharp increase in CO2 levels the last 100 years.

CO2 emissions by region - Asia is driving the growth

While emissions are declining in Europe and North America, Asia is driving the growth in global emissions. Most Asian countries have far lower emissions per capita than western countries, but emissions will increase as more people move towards a higher standard of living. China, the country with the highest emissions in the world, still has only about one third of the emissions per capita compared to countries such as USA, Canada and Australia.

Emissions from international transport such as shipping and air travel is counted as a separate region.

This chart is based on December 2020 data from Global Carbon Project

Greenhouse gas emissions Norway

Updated July 3, 2022

While CO2 emissions have increased from 35 to 42 million tons per year since 1990, emissions of perfluorocarbons (PFC) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) from the aluminum and magnesium industries are now close to 0. Emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) from air-con and cooling systems have increased, but this should be sharply reduced soon as new coolants with lower global warming potential is being used. More on this at Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Oil and gas production represents about 27% of total Norwegian emissions. These emissions are expected to be reduced in the future at the cost of higher global emissions, when on-shore hydroelectric power replaces off-shore gas turbines for powering oil and gas extraction. Numbers are in million tons CO2 equivalents.

Atmospheric methane levels are increasing

Chart is updated monthly

Methane (CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas, with a global heating potential 25 times that of CO2. Sources of methane are natural gas manufacturing, agriculture, waste management, coal mining and more. About two thirds of methane emissions are from human activities. NOAA tracks the atmospheric levels of methane using a global network of monitoring sites.

The US Environmental Protection Agency EPA has a good overview of the various greehouse gases and their impact.

Methane levels are measured in ppb (parts per billion). The chart is updated monthly.

Ice extent in the Arctic close to record lows. July 2020 showed lowest ice coverage for any July month since measurements began

Updated September 14, 2020

NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center at University of Colorado) provides imagery and data to help understand how sea ice is retreating in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Sea ice extent is defined as areas of the sea with at least 15% ice cover. The extent of sea ice is measured in thousands of square kilometers. The chart shows the annual cycle for several years. In the Arctic, sea ice cover is at its lowest in September, before the onset of winter.

The NSIDC dataset contains ice extent data since 1979. July 2020 is the lowest month of July ever measured. September 2012 had the lowest ice cover recorded. This chart is updated monthly.

World population will stabilize at about 11 billion in 2100

World population is currently 7.7 billion. The UN projects that the number of people on earth will reach about 11 billion in year 2100, and will then remain stable.

Virtually all the population growth will be in Africa, where the population will grow by 3 billion from 1.3 to 4.3 billion.

Global gas production is accelerating

Updated January 6, 2021

According to October 2020 data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA, global production of natural gas is accelerating. Other charts on our site confirm this, and show that gas is in fact the main driver of increased CO2 emissions globally, ahead of coal and oil.

Production numbers are in 1000 BCM - Billion cubic meters

Note: EIA uses the term Eurasia to denote the countries in the former Soviet Union

Coal production increasing again

Updated January 6, 2021

According to December 2020 data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA, global coal production is rising again after declining since the 2013 peak. China alone represents 45% of total global coal production. US coal production is slowly declining

The chart shows annual coal production in million metric tons since 1980. For more on peak coal, read Forbes article on coal demand

Note: EIA uses the term Eurasia to denote the countries in the former Soviet Union

Global electricity generation, steady increase in Asia

Charts based on data from the US Energy Information Administration EIA. The increase in global electricity generation is mainly due to China.

Figures in this chart are in 1000 TWh (terawatt hours)

Note: EIA uses the term Eurasia to denote the countries in the former Soviet Union

And now some good news: The ozone hole is (slowly) shrinking

Updated February 23, 2021

Ozone is a colorless gas present in the upper atmosphere which absorbs UV radiation from the sun. Reduced atmospheric ozone leads to sunburn, eye damage and skin cancer. Without any ozone at all there would be no life on earth. CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) gases typically used in refrigerators destroy ozone molecules. In 1989, all UN members ratified the Montreal Protocol , agreeing to phase out the production of ozone depleting gases.

NASA Ozone Watch tracks the size of the ozone hole over the Antarctic and the Arctic. The Antarctic ozone hole reaches its peak size in September/October. The chart shows the mean size of the hole during this period, in millions of square km.

Arctic temperatures increasing dramatically: +5° since 1900

Data from The Norwegian Meteorological Institute and The Norwegian Centre for Climate Services indicate that temperatures in the Arctic, as measured at Svalbard Airport (78.24 degrees North), are now at least 5°C higher than 50-100 years ago. The increased temperature in the Arctic leads to thawing of the permafrost, which in turn releases CO2 and methane currently trapped in the permafrost.

The report Climate in Svalbard 2100 by NCCS is an excellent overview of future climate impact in the Arctic.

Forest fire activity in the Amazon: 2019 and 2020 below average. 2007 remains record year

Updated September 14, 2020

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) monitors forest fire activity in Latin America daily using satellites. This chart shows monthly fire activity for each year since 1998. The highest activity was recorded in 2007, with 2004 and 2010 also showing high fire activity.

The data is a measure of fire activity, and not the number of fires per month. When a satellite image indicates an area with fire activity, there might actually be more than one fire within that image pixel. Also, a single forest fire may span several pixels.

This chart is updated daily.

Sea levels have increased 250mm since 1880, current rate of increase: 50mm per decade

Global mean sea levels have increased by over 200mm since the late 1800's. Data from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is updated continously and show a statistically significant acceleration since measurements started.

The dataset covering 1880-2009 is based on measurements from a large number of stations (38 stations in 1900, 235 stations in the 1980s). The dataset from 1993 and onwards uses satellite technology. Units in mm (millimeters). Chart is updated monthly.

Carbon Capture and Storage in 2020: CCS captures about 0.1% of global CO2 emissions. Most of the captured CO2 is used to extract more oil

Updated April 29, 2021

According to Global CCS Institute there are 26 large-scale CCS projects in operation at end-of-2020, capturing 38 million tons CO2 annually, no increase over 2019. The captured CO2 is less than 0.1% of global CO2 emissions.

Most of the captured CO2 (30 million tons) is used for EOR - Enhanced Oil Recovery: Injection of CO2 into oil wells in order to extract more oil. IEA estimates that this accounts for an extra 500.000 barrels of oil per day, which equals 78 million tons CO2 emissions per year.

The chart lists all commercial operational CCS projects as of 2020. Those in red color use captured CO2 for EOR. Those in grey have stopped operations.

Electricity generation: Natural gas is 100 times more deadly than renewables. Coal is 1000 times more deadly than renewables

University of Oxford's Our World in Data has looked at the number of deaths per TWh (terawatt-hour) of electricity generated from different sources. Data includes accidents and longer term effects due to pollution and radiation, but does not include effects of CO2 emissions and global warming.

Brown coal is the deadliest power-generator with more than 32 deaths per TWh, mainly due to air pollution. This is 1000 times as many deaths as wind, hydro and solar. For the same amount of energy generated, even natural gas causes about 100 times as many deaths as renewable sources.

Nuclear power has a relatively low mortality rate, even when the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents are included. Our World in Data uses the IAEA/WHO estimate for Chernobyl-related deaths, 4000. This chart uses a higher estimate, 45.000, based on the TORCH report


This website visualizes publicly available data from reliable sources on the state of the earth.

Håkon Dahle, Oslo, Norway, 2022