Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) – the main cause of global warming – increased by 3% in 2011, reaching an all-time high of 34 billion tonnes in 2011.
In 2011, China’s average per capita carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions increased by 9% to 7.2 tonnes CO2 . Taking into account an uncertainty margin of 10%, this is similar to the per capita emissions in the European Union of 7.5 tonnes in 2011, the year in which the European Union saw a decrease in emissions of 3%.
China, the world’s most populous country, is now well within the 6 to 19 tonnes/person range spanned by the major industrialised countries. In comparison, in 2011, the United States was still one of the largest emitters of CO2 , with 17.3 tonnes in per capita emissions, after a steep decline mainly caused by the recession in 2008–2009, high oil prices compared to low fuel taxes and an increased share of natural gas.