Global Carbon Council

Carbon Dioxide Emissions


Carbon Dioxide Emissions


Since the Industrial Revolution, around the world, our burning of fossil fuels for manufacturing and transport has generated and released large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere, and the amount released is rising year on year.

Estimates of global CO2 emissions in 2011 from fossil fuel combustion, including cement production and gas flaring, was 34.8 billion tonnes (9.5 ± 0.5 PgC), an increase of 54% above emissions in 1990. Coal burning was responsible for 43% of the total emissions, oil 34%, gas 18%, cement 4.9% and gas flaring 0.7%.

Simply by living and consuming products and services, each and every human is contributing directly and indirectly to CO2 production, which in turn contributes to global warming and climate change. People around the world are becoming more reliant on continuously increasing production and supply of: energy and fuel; food; housing; personal transport; manufactured goods, which all involve the generation and release of large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.

As the human population expands, and as many more people seek more visibly affluent lifestyles, so we use a greater and greater quantity of natural resources every year.

Carbon dioxide emissions

Addressing this problem is one of the major themes of our lifetime.


Human activity since the Industrial Revolution has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. NASA scientists reported in November 2015 that levels of CO2 generated by human activity continue to increase. By burning fossil fuels, we are releasing an estimated 34.8 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. Currently, about half of this is staying in the atmosphere, not absorbed by plants and the oceans, and so contributes increasingly to the greenhouse effect.