Global Emissions (2009)

This coxcomb chart represents global carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from the 2011 International Energy Agency (IEA) report. All figures are as reported for the year 2009.

The wedges are arranged clockwise by per-capita CO2 emissions with the region/country with the largest (the Middle East) at midnight.

From the chart and accompanying table you will see that total emissions for China (6,690 Mt) are only 28% more than the US (5,219 Mt) even though their population is more than 4 times greater (China: 1,338 million, US: 307 million).

Canada's 2009 per-capita emissions (15 tonnes)  were the fourth highest (behind the US, Australia and the Middle East). 

South Africa's emissions are shown separately and excluded from the emissions of the rest of Africa because their emissions are that of a developed country. 

Some regions were excluded from this chart because their total emissions (area) were too small to be visible.

The average global emissions for 2009 were 4 tonnes CO2 percapita (shown by the grey circle).

IEA emissions chart 2009

 

 

Explanation of the wedges

 

   

The angle of the wedge represents the total population.

The radius represents the per-capita emissions. (Since the area of a circle is proportional to the square of the radius, in this diagram, the radius is the square root of the percapita emissions.)

The area of the wedge represents total CO2 emissions, in Megatonnes (Mt)/year.

 

The numbers

 

Country

Percapita CO2
emissions

(tonnes)

Population
(millions)

Annual CO2
emissions

(Mt)

Middle East

18

195

3,510

Australia

18

22

396

US

17

307

5,219

Canada

15

34

510

Russian Federation

11

142

1,562

Korea

11

49

539

Israel

9

7

63

Japan

9

127

1,143

New Zealand

7

4

28

OECD Europe

7

549

3,843

South Africa

7

49

343

Non-OECD Europe and Eurasia

7

376

2,632

China

5

1,338

6,690

Mexico

4

107

426

Brazil

2

194

388

Latin America

2

480

960

India

1

1,155

1,155

Africa (ex. South Africa)

1

960

960

World Population

 

6,095

 

OECD countries are developed countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

CO2 versus CO2e

CO2e, or equivalent carbon dioxide, is a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints. The idea is to express the impact of each different greenhouse gas (including methane, perfluorocarbons and nitrous oxide) in terms of the amount of CO2 that would create the same amount of warming. That way, a carbon footprint consisting of lots of different greenhouse gases can be expressed as a single number. Methane, for example,  has a much greater warming potential but it has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere, and is a smaller portion of the atmosphere.

Coxcomb chart
 

The inspiration for this chart is the famous coxcomb chart that was designed by Florence Nightingale to represent the causes of deaths of British soldiers during the Crimean war. This chart was developed at the suggestion of my friend, Professor Lynn McDonald, editor of the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale.