The Global Carbon Budget 1959–2011


Scientists provide a detailed description of the datasets and methodology used to compute the global carbon dioxide (CO2) budget and associated uncertainties for the period 1959–2011. The objective is to quantify the major sources and sinks in the global carbon cycle budget, understand changes and trends in carbon sources and sinks, characterize the uncertainty associated within individual carbon budget source and sink terms, and provide benchmark data for mitigation efforts and policy discussions. The scientists discuss changes compared to previous estimates, consistency within and among components, and methodology and data limitations. Among these, they estimate that global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion and cement production were 9.5±0.5 PgC yr in 2011, 3% above 2010 levels. The analysis also shows that China is now clearly the world’s largest fossil-fuel emitter with 2.5 Pg C, or 28%, of the world’s fossil-fuel CO2 emissions. The United States is second at 1.5 Pg C, or 16%. All carbon data presented can be downloaded from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (DOI: 10.3334/CDIAC/GCP V2012).


Le Quéré, C., R. J. Andres, T. Boden, T. Conway, R. A. Houghton, J. I. House, G. Marland,  G. P. Peters, G. van der Werf, A. Ahlström, R. M. Andrew, L. Bopp, J. G. Canadell, P. Ciais, S. C. Doney, C. Enright, P. Friedlingstein, C. Huntingford, A. K. Jain, C. Jourdain, E. Kato, R. F. Keeling, K.  Klein Goldewijk, S. Levis, P. Levy, M. Lomas, B. Poulter, M. R. Raupach, J. Schwinger, S. Sitch, B. D. Stocker, N. Viovy, S Zaehle, and N. Zeng. 2012. “The Global Carbon Budget 1959–2011,” Earth System Science Data Discussion 5, 1107–57. DOI: 10.5194/essdd-5-1107-2012.