Policies in Key Countries

 

Australia

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 1.28% (ranked 16th)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 18.8 metric tons (406% of global average)
Per capita GDP: $49,130 (16th globally)

Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter and its economy depends heavily on energy-intensive industries such as mining and oil production. The government recently enacted a Clean Energy Legislative Package with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. Its policies include energy efficiency measures, a renewable energy target, and a carbon pricing mechanism leading to emissions trading. Australia recently agreed to a new emissions target under the Kyoto Protocol of 5 percent below 2000 levels in 2020 – or up to 20 percent below, depending on other countries’ efforts.

Brazil

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 1.43 (ranked 17th)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 2.3 metric tons (49% of global average)

Per Capita GDP: $10,720 (79th globally)

Over 70 percent of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions stem from deforestation and land-use changes associated with the expansion of agriculture. (When land use-related emissions are included, Brazil ranks as the fifth largest greenhouse gas emitting country.) In recent years, rapid growth in energy production has increased energy-related CO2 emissions. In 2008, Brazil developed a National Climate Change Policy, including measures related to energy sources, forests and agriculture, ranching, industry, waste, and transport. The policy aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 36 percent to 39 percent below business as usual in 2020.

Canada

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 1.73% (ranked 7th)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 16.3 metric tons (351% of global average)

Per capita GDP: $45,560 (22nd globally)

Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and natural gas, and the leading source of U.S. energy imports. Canada meets most of its electricity needs through hydropower, and while emissions from the oil and gas sector are rising, over greenhouse gas emissions have decreased since 2007. Canada has set a goal of reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and its policies include vehicle emission regulations and a phase-out of coal-generated electricity. Canada signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 but formally withdrew from the agreement in 2011.

China

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions:: 26.18% (ranked 1st)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 6.26 metric tons (135% of global average)

Per capita GDP: $4,940 (124th globally)

As the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, accounting for nearly half of total global consumption, China’s annual CO2 emissions are now the highest of any country. China pledged in the 2010 Cancún Agreements to reduce carbon intensity 40 percent to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. Its 12th Five Year Plan, adopted in 2011, includes policies to reduce the country’s energy intensity and CO2 intensity 16 percent and 17 percent, respectively, by 2015. Policies include improved greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting, renewable energy targets and incentives, and energy efficiency standards. Seven regional carbon trading pilot projects are being developed, with the goal of gradually establishing a national trading system. Under current policies, China’s emissions are projected to rise 75 percent by 2035.

European Union (EU)

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 11.51%
Per capita CO2 emissions: 7.3 metric tons (157% of global average)

Per Capita GDP: $34,891

The EU includes 27 countries and more than 500 million people. The Climate and Energy Package adopted in 2009 is built around a “20-20-20” for 2020 – reducing emissions 20 percent from 1990 levels, increasing renewables to 20 percent of energy production, and a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency. The EU Emissions Trading System is the world’s largest greenhouse gas trading program, covering over 11,000 power stations and industrial plants. Recently, the EU agreed to a new binding target under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

India

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 5.34% (ranked 3rd)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 1.4 metric tons (31% of global average)
Per capita GDP: $1,410 (162nd globally)

While India’s economy and CO2 emissions have grown rapidly, per capita emissions remain well below the global average. India’s 2009 National Plan on Climate Change established eight National Missions addressing solar power, energy efficiency, water issues, sustainable habitat, agriculture, the Himalayan ecosystem, land use, and strategic knowledge on climate change. In the 2010 Cancun Agreements, India pledged to reduce emissions intensity 20 percent to 25 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Japan

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 3.66% (ranked 5th)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 9.2 metric tons (109% of global average)

Per capita GDP: $44,900 (23rd globally)

Japan is the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas, second largest importer of coal, and third largest net importer of oil. In 2010, Japan adopted a Basic Energy Plan with the goal of reducing emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below by 2050. With most of Japan’s nuclear reactors offline since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, the government is reassessing the country’s Basic Energy Plan and may relax its emissions goals. Japan chose not to take a second emissions target under the Kyoto Protocol.

Mexico

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 1.4% (ranked 13th)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 3.96 metric tons (85% of global average)
Per capita GDP: $9,420 (83rd globally)

Mexico’s rapid economic growth has been reflected in increasing fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The 2012 General Law on Climate Change established climate change as a long-term priority for the country. In 2007, the National Climate Change Strategy included measures on energy, sustainable development, waste management, agriculture, forestry, land use, and conservation. In the 2010 Cancún Agreements, Mexico pledged to reduce absolute emissions 30 percent below business as usual levels by 2020.

South Africa

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 1.46% (ranked 10th)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 9.47 metric tons (204% of global average)

Per capita GDP: $6,960 (98th globally)

South Africa is a significant coal consumer and exporter, and imports substantial volumes of oil and natural gas. The country’s climate strategy calls for emissions to peak between 2020 and 2025, stabilize for about a decade, and then begin to decline. South Africa pledged in the 2010 Cancún Agreements to reduce emissions 34 percent below business-as-usual levels by 2020 – and 42 percent by 2025, with international support.

Republic of Korea

Share of global energy-related CO2 emissions: 1.46% (ranked 9th)
Per capita CO2 emissions: 11.9 metric tons (257% of global average)

Per capita GDP: $20,870 (53rd globally)

The Republic of Korea is a major importer of coal and natural gas, and its rapid economic growth has led to steadily increasing emissions. The 2009 Framework Act of Low Carbon Green Growth created a legislative framework for mid- and long-term emissions reductions using tools such as cap-and-trade, renewable energy incentives, and tax shifts to encourage low-carbon economic development. South Korea plans to launch an emissions trading system in 2015 covering around 500 companies accounting for about 60 percent of total annual emissions. South Korea pledged in the 2010 Cancún Agreements to reduce emissions 30 percent below business-as-usual levels by 2020.