Global emissions and carbon neutrality pledges

Global emissions and carbon neutrality pledges

The 131 countries that have pledged so far to achieve net zero produce over 87% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Countries with no such commitment produce 9% of global emissions. The remaining 3.5% emissions come from international aviation and shipping.

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This infographic shows the share of carbon-neutral countries in global CO2 emissions in 2018. Excluding the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry sector (LULUCF), all CO2 emissions, including international maritime and aviation transport. As of March 2022, the 131 countries that are moving towards carbon neutrality are responsible for 87% of global emissions.

Countries that are moving towards carbon neutrality are those whose commitments are either fulfilled (e.g., Bhutan), set in law, set in a policy document, in the form of a declaration/commitment, or at the proposal/discussion stage. If we exclude countries with commitments in the draft or discussion phase, there would be a 3% reduction in covered emissions to 84% of global emissions.

Some countries aim for climate neutrality (climate neutrality, net-zero emissions) and some for carbon neutrality (carbon neutrality, net-zero carbon). We do not distinguish between these two terms in this infographic and use the term carbon neutrality for all commitments. While the former refers to all greenhouse gases, the latter refers “only” to CO2. I.e., if a country commits to climate neutrality, this commitment includes carbon neutrality. Countries worldwide must achieve carbon neutrality by around 2050 to keep global warming below 1.5°C. Commitments towards later dates are insufficient to meet this goal.

More details on individual countries

Of the countries that account for more than 1% of global emissions, only Iran and Mexico have not signed up for carbon neutrality. The five largest emitters are the following countries/groups, which together account for 63.2% of global CO2 emissions:

  1. China: 29.9% share of global CO2 emissions, carbon neutrality deadline is 2060,
  2. USA: 13.7% share, 2050,
  3. EU-27, 8.2% share, 2050
  4. India, 6.7% share, 2070,
  5. Russia, 4.8% share, 2060.

    References

  • The reference for the carbon neutrality terms is the Net Zero Tracker project.
  • The reference for the emissions database is the EDGAR database (Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research) operated by the European Environment Agency.

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