Climate Change

How accurate are emission estimates?

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Science  29 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6285, pp. 547-548
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6285.547-f

According to estimates by the International Energy Authority, global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 0.2% in 2014, largely because of a 2.9% drop in Chinese coal consumption. But do these estimates hold up? Korsbakken et al. show that coal consumption estimates are less reliable as predictors of carbon dioxide emissions than is coal-derived energy use. Using data from the Chinese National Bureau of statistics, together with mean emission rates and oxidation rates from different uses of this coal in the Chinese economy, the authors estimate that Chinese fossil fuel emissions grew by 0.8% and that global emissions rose by about 0.5% in 2014.

Nat. Clim. Change 10.1038/NCLIMATE2963 (2016).

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