What global carbon emission reductions do we need to achieve to avoid 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures?

I’ve found answering this question very difficult through googling sources, so thought I’d share my findings.

UN Emissions Gap Report

This provided many answers I was looking for and it is updated regularly biannually. Current Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) are 52.4GtCO2e (see below table - p.31) and they need to fall to 41 GtCO2e to stay within 2°C and need to fall to 25 GtCO2e to stay below 1.5°C (see below graph - p.53).

Transferring this into everyday terms

  • Currently we average 6.82tCO2e per person (52,400,000,000 tCO2e divided by 7,674,000,000 people)
  • To stay within 2°C it needs to be 4.79tCO2e per person by 2030 (assuming 1.1% annual increase in population)
  • To stay confidently below 1.5°C it needs to be 2.92tCO2e by 2030 (assuming 1.1% annual increase in population)

UK Average Carbon Emissions

It got me thinking about what the average UK carbon emissions are. You can go through government reports on this but as aptly pointed out by @Alex any UK carbon footprint needs to include the imported carbon (in good/services recieved), and government reports don’t provide that (see below image and link to report).

If we are to assume this is correct the average carbon footprint of a UK citizen is: 12tCO2e (801MtCO2e/66.65 million people in the UK)

However, reported domestic carbon emissions of UK citizens have fallen from 466 MtCO2e to 449MtCO2e (comparing 2016 and 2018 government reports).

This brings down average footprint to 11.76tCO2

What emissions do we have control of from that footprint?

The Carbon Trust did a piece of work on this and published a report in April 2012. They did a piece of analysis on sources of carbon emissions through calculating emissions of participants of the study, and gave their own bottom up calculations of emissions (copied in table below).

They calculated our annual footprint at 15.3tCO2e, with us having control of 8tCO2e, and then broke down those emissions by activity.

I’m going to rework some of our shared content on the back of this work

End of share - please do share any interesting information/insights you have on my thinking