Articles | Volume 6, issue 3
Biogeosciences, 6, 463–468, 2009

Special issue: Carbon cycling in Sub-Saharan Africa

Biogeosciences, 6, 463–468, 2009

  20 Mar 2009

20 Mar 2009

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions in Africa

J. G. Canadell1, M. R. Raupach1, and R. A. Houghton2 J. G. Canadell et al.
  • 1Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
  • 2Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA 02540, USA

Abstract. An understanding of the regional contributions and trends of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is critical to design mitigation strategies aimed at stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gases. Here we report CO2 emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and land use change in Africa for various time periods. Africa was responsible for an average of 500 Tg C y−1 for the period 2000–2005. These emissions resulted from the combustion of fossil fuels (260 Tg C y−1) and land use change (240 Tg C y−1). Over this period, the African share of global emissions from land use change was 17%. For 2005, the last year reported in this study, African fossil fuel emissions were 285 Tg C accounting for 3.7% of the global emissions. The 2000–2005 growth rate in African fossil fuel emissions was 3.2% y−1, very close to the global average. Fossil fuel emissions per capita in Africa are among the lowest in the world, at 0.32 t C y−1 compared to the global average of 1.2 t C y−1. The average amount of carbon (C) emitted as CO2 to produce 1 US{$} of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa was 187 g C/$ in 2005, close to the world average of 199 g C/$. With the fastest population growth in the world and rising per capita GDP, Africa is likely to increase its share of global emissions over the coming decades although emissions from Africa will remain low compared to other continents.

Final-revised paper