Articles | Volume 9, issue 5
Biogeosciences, 9, 1845–1871, 2012

Special issue: REgional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes (RECCAP)

Biogeosciences, 9, 1845–1871, 2012

Research article 25 May 2012

Research article | 25 May 2012

A synthesis of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel combustion

R. J. Andres1, T. A. Boden1, F.-M. Bréon2, P. Ciais3, S. Davis4, D. Erickson5, J. S. Gregg6, A. Jacobson7,8, G. Marland9, J. Miller7,8, T. Oda7,10, J. G. J. Olivier11, M. R. Raupach12, P. Rayner13, and K. Treanton14 R. J. Andres et al.
  • 1Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6290 USA
  • 2CEA/DSM/LSCE, Gif sur Yvette, France
  • 3IPSL-LSCE, Gif sur Yvette, France
  • 4Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 USA
  • 5Computational Earth Sciences Group, Computer Science and Mathematics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 USA
  • 6Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
  • 7NOAA Earth System Research Lab, Boulder, Colorado 80305 USA
  • 8Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80303 USA
  • 9Research Institute for Environment, Energy, and Economics, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608 USA
  • 10Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 USA
  • 11PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  • 12CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Australia
  • 13School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • 14Energy Statistics Division, International Energy Agency, Paris, France

Abstract. This synthesis discusses the emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel combustion and cement production. While much is known about these emissions, there is still much that is unknown about the details surrounding these emissions. This synthesis explores our knowledge of these emissions in terms of why there is concern about them; how they are calculated; the major global efforts on inventorying them; their global, regional, and national totals at different spatial and temporal scales; how they are distributed on global grids (i.e., maps); how they are transported in models; and the uncertainties associated with these different aspects of the emissions. The magnitude of emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels has been almost continuously increasing with time since fossil fuels were first used by humans. Despite events in some nations specifically designed to reduce emissions, or which have had emissions reduction as a byproduct of other events, global total emissions continue their general increase with time. Global total fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions are known to within 10 % uncertainty (95 % confidence interval). Uncertainty on individual national total fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions range from a few percent to more than 50 %. This manuscript concludes that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel combustion continue to increase with time and that while much is known about the overall characteristics of these emissions, much is still to be learned about the detailed characteristics of these emissions.

Final-revised paper