Carbon Dioxide

Peak Carbon Emissions?

Emissions reductions in rich countries are being offset by increases in developing countries.


Carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sectors for both the world and the United States have flattened and may have peaked. In its latest global emissions report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that "global energy-related CO2 emissions flattened in 2019 at around 33 gigatonnes (Gt), following two years of increases." This flattening is chiefly the result of a steep reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from rich countries in which renewables and natural gas are outcompeting coal for electric power generation. In addition, IEA noted that "higher nuclear power generation in advanced economies, particularly in Japan and Korea, avoided over 50 Mt of CO2." In other words, by ramping up their use of nuclear power, Japan and Korea burned less fossil fuels and thus emitted far less carbon dioxide.

Overall, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. in 2019 fell by 140 megatons, or 2.9 percent, to 4.8 gigatons. The IEA attributes much of the decline to a 15 percent reduction in the use of coal for power generation. Milder summer and winter weather in 2019 also contributed to lower electricity demand.

European Union carbon dioxide emissions fell by 160 megatons, or 5 percent, to reach 2.9 gigatons. A 25 percent drop in coal-fired generation accounted for much of the reduction in emissions.

On the other hand, the increase of nearly 400 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions from developing countries in 2019 largely offset the emissions declines achieved in rich countries. Thus the flattening global trend.

With respect to future U.S. emissions, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) earlier this week projected that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will decrease through the early 2030s before rising to 4.9 billion metric tons in 2050. The EIA scenario assumes no new laws or regulations. The decline over the next decade or so would result from continuing coal-fired generation retirements and increasing installation of renewable energy generation.

Overall carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. energy sector peaked at 5.9 gigatons in 2007 and have now dropped 19 percent to 4.8 gigatons in 2019.

The latest data from the IEA and EIA bolster University of Colorado climate policy researcher Roger Pielke Jr.'s conclusion that global carbon dioxide emissions are on the brink of a long plateau. This is relatively good news for the world's climate since more dire scenarios that projected much higher future levels of globe-warming carbon dioxide emissions are increasingly unlikely.

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  1. So legislative efforts here in the US to reduce carbon emissions will accomplish exactly fuck all.

    1. And so far most, if not all, of the reduction we have accomplished has been without government involvement.

      1. And in spite of the environmental movement. The reductions are due almost entirely to fracking and the cheap and available natural gas it produces replacing coal. And the environmental movement would ban fracking if it had the power.

        1. If the environmental movement gets its way, no one will have the power.

        2. And in spite of the environmental movement. The reductions are due almost entirely to fracking and the cheap and available natural gas it produces replacing coal. And the environmental movement would ban fracking if it had the power.


        3. And just imagine if we had the fortitude to shift energy policy towards nuclear power.

          There’s no reason why most of America can’t run off a relatively small number of reactors. The rest can be covered via whatever is most economical. If we shifted to nuclear, I wonder if Greta would shame a group of Indian women for using too much coal and leave me the fuck alone?

    2. Either way, it’s a good thing AGW is total bullshit.

  2. Another word for increased carbon emissions is prosperity. Thanks to those emissions hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty over the last 20 years.

    When you get down to it, hatred of people getting out of poverty and especially brown people getting out of poverty is what drives the entire AGR cult. Fuck them and fuck their cult. If they want to reduce emissions, they should kill themselves. That would not only reduce their carbon footprint to zero it would also increase the worlds average IQ.

    1. The world can handle a tiny elite like Al Gore having a house that uses 21x the average household amt of electricity. It cannot survive the masses doing so.

      “But we don’t even like apples…”

      1. I heard the beach front property he bought is his future fish farm

    2. And, in fact, if you look at the report Bailey references, the reason for the projected increase in the 2050 timeframe is prodicted levels of increased economic growth. The numbers get worse with even more economic growth.
      You’re not wrong.

  3. Oh, for God’s sake! Now we will have to start generating more CO2 so Greta can keep her job!

    1. Why do you think she’s in tears? She’s scared shitless the global first class air travel and 5 star hotels will come to a crashing end if yet more catastrophic predictions turn out to be laughably false.

      1. So will she scream ‘how dare you!’ to her Burger King customers when they request a super size meal?

        1. Only if she can find a brain-dead manager to hire her for a customer service job, for which she is obviously and notoriously unsuited.

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  4. FWIW, I don’t believe that the US or Western Europe (EU bloc) have seen any reductions in CO2. I seriously question all of the accounting. ALL of it.

    But no matter, because despite previously being willing to admit that maybe humans were having some impact on the climate via CO2, I no longer believe that.

    At all. And people say Greta Thunberg is useless.

    1. I’m with you. I used to think it was at least plausible, that there might be something behind it, and maybe not burning dirty coal was a good idea anyway.

      But nobody lies and obfuscates and hies data as much as the warmists have unless they have nothing to back up their alarums. Pound the table instead of the facts and I know why.

      And then Obama buys a $14M beach house. The final straw in rising sea levels and global warming alarmists.

    2. FWIW, I don’t believe that the US or Western Europe (EU bloc) have seen any reductions in CO2. I seriously question all of the accounting. ALL of it.

      Yeah, they were wrong not to declare victory during ‘the pause’. Eventually, some part of the movement is going to get wise to that fact and, in order to keep lurching forward, factual data and information is going to have to be retconned and/or memory-holed.

      1. I’ve told this story here before, but it’s been awhile, and it’s salient.

        When I was a young and energetic political activist back in the late ’80s I was involved with CalPIRG going door-to-door ‘raising awareness’ about environmental issues, including global warming (there used to be other ones, too).

        One of the old guys I worked with, who was an original Earth-Day-er, almost-original member of Greenpeace, etc., smelly/hairy old hippie guy, told us despairingly one day that the environmental movement was about to come to an end because the government was about to get involved (this was during the build-up to Kyoto).

        Being young and naive, I assumed the point was to get the government involved.

        He patiently explained that the government has no interest in solving problems. It only has an interest in having a problem to claim to be solving while in fact perpetuating it.

        Therefore, he predicted, once environmentalism got politicized, one issue would be chosen to be the only issue and all other issues would get mystified and subsumed under that one issue. A wider and wider swathe of problems will be blamed on that one issue, more and more money would be spent on it, more and more legislation would be passed in the name of it, but nothing would in fact be done to address the problem since the government needs the problem.

        Very prescient.

        1. And nobody working for CalPIRG had the self awareness to understand that they’d started from step one as ‘government involvement’?

          That the entirety of the goals of Public Interest Resource Groups is to work for total (leftist) government control?


          1. One of the things that drove me away from political activism was finding that your average political activist isn’t starting from a firm grounding in sanity.

  5. Carbon dioxide is plant food. Its impacts on global climate and temperatures are poorly understood AT BEST.

    1. You’re being bigoted towards the AGW Orthodox religion when you say things like that.

      Bow Bailey must pray for you soul.

  6. These people are scary and this is the endgame:

    “Patricia MacCormack goes relentessly beyond ”just” deconstructing anthropocentrism and dismantling multispecies extinction caused by human dominance in the Anthropocene. The manifesto is not only theorizing, but com/passionately calling for direct abolitionist action for the other at the expense of the (human) self. Trembling with joyful energy and critically affirmative insights, this manifesto encourages us to engage in ahuman arts&activist practices, inspired by queer feminist (secular) spirituality), and death activism.” ―Nina Lykke, Professor of Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden

    “This beautiful book is both a passionate, insightful meditation on the world we actually live in, and a radical call to action. Is it even possible for us to stop being human, to let multiple beings flourish without reducing them to means for our own selfish ends? Reading this book, thinking with it and about it, and responding openly to it, is absolutely essential.” ―Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University, USA

    “This book is a delightful provocation and invitation: to imagine a world without humans and to think of what we can do to get there. It is an urgent call for action. A joyful, lucid, fiercely intelligent call to readers to hope and work for a future not for themselves, but for the thriving of all nonhuman life. Engaging with this book will be a transformative experience. One cannot see the world or oneself in the same way after reading it.” ―Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute, Brock University, Canada

    “Patricia MacCormack’s splendid refusal to nuance her intent in The Ahuman Manifesto will both intrigue and infuriate. As a vegan abolitionist/extinctionist, she provides an unrelenting and exacting take down of the violent self-interest of the human species, and offers a call to ethical action best described as eating the Anthropocene.” ―Margrit Shildrick, Guest Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production, Stockholm University, Sweden

    1. Now that’s a scientific consensus.

      Nina Lykke, Professor of Gender Studies
      Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English
      Christine Daigle, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute
      Margrit Shildrick, Guest Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production

    2. Exhibits A through D as to why universities should stop receiving taxpayer money.

    3. I actually do think that it would be better if there were fewer humans on Earth. We leave a large footprint that does impede the planet’s biodiversity. I wouldn’t advocate genocide, but we could gradually lower the population in a few ways. Slow 3rd world immigration to developed countries. Allow negative population growth to continue in the developed world while also cutting the government benefits to having children. Allow the economy to grow based more on increased productivity and technology than having more workers. Ultimately, it could happen just by allowing the naturally occurring trends to continue without fighting them via policy (as open borders proponents argue)

  7. This chart makes a no sense. GDP in the United States is increasing while CO2 emissions are decreasing. I thought reducing CO2 emissions meant turning the country over to the Khmer Rouge and turning it into a dystopian communist hellhole? Can someone explain? Thanks!

    1. Can someone explain? Thanks!

      We continue to outsource our emissions to the third world and B, we haven’t actually reduced our emissions.

    2. Reducing CO2 through government fiat, and pie in the sky solutions not via the private market. Guess what, the private market works yet again. Jesus your attempts at being sarcastic are infantile and simplistic.

      1. ^ This.

    3. Coal use has drastically decreased, mostly because of a bountiful supply of natural gas. Burning NG releases far less CO2 than burning coal.

      So that’s part of the reason for the unexpected decrease.

      1. And we have plentiful natural gas because of fracking. Which all the Democrats have vowed to ban and end.

  8. For perspective:

    Through a series of chemical reactions and tectonic activity, carbon takes between 100-200 million years to move between rocks, soil, ocean, and atmosphere in the slow carbon cycle. On average, 10^13 to 10^14 grams (10–100 million metric tons) of carbon move through the slow carbon cycle every year. In comparison, human emissions of carbon to the atmosphere are on the order of 10^15 grams, whereas the fast carbon cycle moves 10^16 to 10^17 grams of carbon per year.

    If mankind were pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at 10X the current rate we’d only begin to approach the amount that the biosphere emits and sequesters every year. That is, a biosphere that’s 25% frozen and CO2 starved.

  9. Too bad the CO2 is leveling off. We could do with more good news like this.

    Cold kills far more people than warmth.

  10. Now that CO2 is leveling off, the developed world can move on to CO3.

    1. CO3, CO4……… whatever it takes.

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  12. It’s sad that this message can’t get through the green hysteria, but it won’t fit in to their anti-freedom, anti-individual agenda.

    AGW is such a wonderful crisis when it comes to justification of central control.

    Fracking has bought us some time. Now let’s get some modern fission plants built, and get some serious practical fusion developed and online!

    Keep it up RB! We’re counting on you to keep an accurate assessment of the situation in front of us.

  13. Why Reason allows this sh%t is beyond me. The author’s scientific or engineering credentials please..seriously

  14. Don’t get me wrong, I like to give Ron a hard time maybe even a little more than the next guy but this is one the thinnest, most intellectually worthless ad hominems I’ve seen on this site. And that’s saying a lot at a site where ‘Shikha Dalmia;Didn’t Read’ is a quasi-legitimate comment.

    1. This was meant in reply to Titus PUllo.

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  16. Hi…
    I am Elena gillbert.Or, at least, we were given some false hope. In the three years between 2014 and 2016, global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels had finally stopped increasing and leveled out. Emissions weren’t yet going down — but there was the potential that they had peaked.
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  19. F***ing stupid to worry about CO2. It is NOT a toxic gas, it is NOT a pollutant, our atmosphere is now 400 PPM CO2 but your exhaled breath is 40,000 PPM, greenhouses pipe in 2000PPM so plants can grow because CO2 IS the most important plant food on the planet. The Earth has improved greening by 15% since 1880, and more is better. Stopping CO2 production or worse, decarbonizing the air, will starve crops of what they need to grow. This is about science?? This is about leftist idiocy and power.

  20. Projecting from a one year trend is beyond silly.

    Long term China is already twice our CO2 and has plans to build zillions more *coal* power plants over the next decade.

    Their increase has probably been mitigated short term by economic slowdown in the last couple of years, and who knows how much from the corona virus, but the realistic trends going forward are increases in the developing world outstripping decreases in the developed world.

    All this talk will go out with the window if the coming solar minimum brings significant temperature drops.

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