Economic crisis slows worldwide CO2 emissions

According to the German renewable energy industry institute IWR in Münster, 31.1 billion (bil.) t of carbon dioxide was emitted worldwide in 2009 (2008: 31.5 bil.). That is 400 million (mil.) t, or 1.3%, less than emissions in 2008, which was a record year. Global investments in renewable energy systems (power, heating, fuel) rose to 125 bil. euros (2008: 120 bil. euros).

"In the wake of the economic crisis, the global decrease in CO2 emissions fell significantly short of expectations," said IWR director Dr. Norbert Allnoch in Münster. Decreased CO2 emissions in Europe, the U.S., Russia, and Japan are almost nullified by significant increases in Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

According to Allnoch, "As a result of recent economic growth in China, energy-related CO2 emissions there were as high in 2009 as those in the U.S. and Russia combined." China tops the CO2 ranking with 7.43 bil. t (2008: 6.8 bil.), appreciably surpassing the U.S. with its 5.95 bil. t (2008: 6.4 bil.). Following in third place is Russia with 1.53 bil. t (2008: 1.7 bil.), just ahead of India with 1.53 bil. t (2008: 1.4 bil.) and Japan with 1.23 bil. t (2008: 1.4 bil.).

The global wind energy and solar power market set expansion records again in 2009. The moderate increase in renewable energy investments to a total of around 125 bil. euros (2008: 120 bil. euros) was primarily caused by reduced system prices. Allnoch claimed, "In order to slow the rising consumption of fossil fuels and stabilize global CO2 emissions, it will be necessary to steadily increase direct investments in renewable energy systems to at least 500 billion euros a year worldwide."

In 2009, the IWR developed the CERINA Plan (CO2 Emissions and Renewable Investment Action Plan), an alternative investment model to the Kyoto Mechanism, in which the CO2 emissions of individual countries are connected directly to investments in renewable energy. The complete international CO2 ranking for 2009 with the required renewable energy investments according to the CERINA Plan is available at