Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-228
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-228

  14 Jul 2021

14 Jul 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ESSD.

A comprehensive dataset for global, regional and national greenhouse gas emissions by sector 1970–2019

Jan C. Minx1,2, William F. Lamb1,2, Robbie M. Andrew3, Josep G. Canadell4, Monica Crippa5, Niklas Döbbeling1, Piers M. Forster2, Diego Guizzardi4, Jos Olivier6, Glen P. Peters3, Julia Pongratz7,8, Andy Reisinger9, Matthew Rigby10, Marielle Saunois11, Steven J. Smith12, Efisio Solazzo5, and Hanqin Tian13 Jan C. Minx et al.
  • 1Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin, 10827, Germany
  • 2Priestley International Centre for Climate, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds; LS2 9JT, UK
  • 3CICERO Center for International Climate Research, Oslo, 0318 Norway
  • 4Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Canberra, Australia
  • 5European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy
  • 6PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Bureau, the Hague, the Netherlands
  • 7Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Luisenstr. 37, 80333 Munich, Germany
  • 8Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 9Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, Fenner School of Society & Environment, Building 141, Linnaeus Way, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2600, Australia
  • 10School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TS, UK
  • 11Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE-IPSL (CEA-CNRS-UVSQ), Université Paris-Saclay 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 12Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, MD 20740 USA
  • 13International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA

Abstract. To track progress towards keeping warming well below 2 °C, as agreed upon in the Paris Agreement, comprehensive and reliable information on anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is required. Here we provide a dataset on anthropogenic GHG emissions 1970–2019 with a broad country and sector coverage. We build the dataset from recent releases of the “Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research” (EDGAR) for CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industry (FFI), CH4 emissions, N2O emissions, and fluorinated gases, and use a well-established fast-track method to extend this dataset from 2018 to 2019. We complement this with data on net CO2 emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) from three bookkeeping models. We provide an assessment of the uncertainties in each greenhouse gas at the 90 % confidence interval (5th–95th percentile) by combining statistical analysis and comparisons of global emissions inventories with an expert judgement informed by the relevant scientific literature. We identify important data gaps: CH4 and N2O emissions could be respectively 10–20 % higher than reported in EDGAR once all emissions are accounted. F-gas emissions estimates for individual species in EDGARv5 do not align well with atmospheric measurements and the F-gas total exceeds measured concentrations by about 30 %. However, EDGAR and official national emission reports under the UNFCCC do not comprehensively cover all relevant F-gas species. Excluded F-gas species such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are larger than the sum of the reported species. GHG emissions in 2019 amounted to 59 ± 6.6 GtCO2eq: CO2 emissions from FFI were 38 ± 3.0 Gt, CO2 from LULUCF 6.6 ± 4.6 Gt, CH4 11 ± 3.3 GtCO2eq, N2O 2.4 ±1.5 GtCO2eq and F-gases 1.6 ± 0.49 GtCO2eq. Our analysis of global, anthropogenic GHG emission trends over the past five decades (1970–2019) highlights a pattern of varied, but sustained emissions growth. There is high confidence that global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased every decade. Emission growth has been persistent across different (groups of) gases. While CO2 has accounted for almost 75 % of the emission growth since 1970 in terms of CO2eq as reported here, the combined F-gases have grown at a faster rate than other GHGs, albeit starting from low levels in 1970. Today, F-gases make a non-negligible contribution to global warming – even though CFCs and HCFCs, regulated under the Montreal Protocol and not included in our estimates, have contributed more. There is further high confidence that global anthropogenic GHG emission levels were higher in 2010-2019 than in any previous decade and GHG emission levels have grown across the most recent decade. While average annual greenhouse gas emissions growth slowed between 2010–2019 compared to 2000–2009, the absolute increase in average decadal GHG emissions from the 2000s to the 2010s has been the largest since the 1970s – and within all human history as suggested by available long-term data. We note considerably higher rates of change in GHG emissions between 2018 and 2019 than for the entire decade 2010–2019, which is numerically comparable with the period of high GHG emissions growth during the 2000s, but we place low confidence in this finding as the majority of the growth is driven by highly uncertain increases in CO2-LULUCF emissions as well as the use of preliminary data and extrapolation methodologies for these most recent years. While there is a growing number of countries today on a sustained emission reduction trajectory, our analysis further reveals that there are no global sectors that show sustained reductions in GHG emissions. We conclude by highlighting that tracking progress in climate policy requires substantial investments in independent GHG emission accounting and monitoring as well as the available national and international statistical infrastructures. The data associated with this article (Minx et al. 2021) can be found at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5053056.

Jan C. Minx et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-228', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-228', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Sep 2021
  • EC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-228', David Carlson, 24 Sep 2021
  • AC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-228', William F. Lamb, 04 Oct 2021

Jan C. Minx et al.

Data sets

A comprehensive dataset for global, regional and national greenhouse gas emissions by sector 1970-2019 Jan C. Minx, William F. Lamb, Robbie M Andrew, Josep G. Canadell, Monica Crippa, Niklas Döbbeling, Piers M. Forster, Diego Guizzardi, Jos Olivier, Glen P. Peters, Julia Pongratz, Andy Reisinger, Matthew Rigby, Marielle Saunois, Steven J. Smith, Efisio Solazzo, Hanqin Tian https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5053056

Jan C. Minx et al.

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Short summary
We provide a comprehensive dataset for all major greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with high sector and country resolution covering the time period 1970–2019. We find GHG have increased every decade and that the absolute increase in average annual GHG emissions has never been larger than for the most recent decade (2010–2019). We identify a number of data gaps and data quality issues and highlight the importance of stronger investments in emissions inventories and reporting.