Coal Still Responsible for Quarter of Global Emissions

Guidehouse and ASN Bank publish updated greenhouse gas emissions flowchart

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According to Guidehouse analysis, coal usage remains the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally, accounting for nearly a quarter of all emissions. In parallel to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Guidehouse and ASN Bank released an updated flowchart showing the spread of 2017 global emissions by source, sector, and type of greenhouse gas.

The flowchart illustrates the sectors contributing the most to global warming that need to be decarbonized most urgently. Coal use is the most emissions-intensive source of energy, while industry is the sector contributing most to global warming, accounting for almost a third of worldwide emissions. These emissions originate in fossil fuel combustion (mostly coal) and direct emissions (mostly CO2 from cement production). Oil usage in the transport sector is also a large contributor to global emissions.

The previous version of the chart, released in 2016, covered data from 2012. Between 2012 and 2017, world greenhouse gas emissions grew from ~51.8 gigatons to ~53.7 gigatons CO2-equivalent.

The recent analysis shows no sign of worldwide emissions peaking nor an absolute decrease in coal-related emissions. Both are urgently required to safeguard the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Every year emissions are not yet declining results in the need for much deeper emission cuts in future years.

Download the World Greenhouse Gas Emissions Flowchart

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