Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel use, 1751–1950



Newly compiled energy statistics allow for an estimation of the complete time series of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil-fuel use for the years 1751 to the present. The time series begins with 3 × 106 metric tonnes carbon (C). This initial flux represents the early stages of the fossil-fuel era. The CO2 flux increased exponentially until World War I. The time series derived here seamlessly joins the modern 1950 to present time series. Total cumulative CO2 emissions through 1949 were 61.0 × 109 tonnes C from fossil-fuel use, virtually all since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution around 1860. The rate of growth continues to grow during present times, generating debate on the probability of enhanced greenhouse warming. In addition to global totals, national totals and 1° global distributions of the data have been calculated.