Climate and Environmental Change

A quantitative comparison and analysis on the assessment indicators of greenhouse gases emission

  • 1. Scientific Information Center for Resources and Environment, Lanzhou Branch Library of National Science Library, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    2. MOE Key Laboratory of Western Environmental Systems, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China

Received date: 2008-04-11

  Revised date: 2008-07-25

  Online published: 2008-12-25

Supported by

The Key Project for Knowledge Innovation Program of CAS, No.KZCX2-YW-501; The Western Talent Project of CAS in 2005; The National S&T Pillar Program, No.007BAC03A11-05


Anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) emission and related global warming issues have been the focus of international communities for some time. The international communities have reached a consensus to reduce anthropogenic GHG emissions and restrain global warming. The quantitative assessment of anthropogenic GHG emissions is the scientific basis to find out the status of global GHG emission, identify the commitments of each country, and arrange the international efforts of GHG emission reduction. Currently the main assessment indicators for GHG emission include national indicator, per capita indicator, per GDP indicator, and international trade indicator etc. The introduction to the above indicators is put forward and their merits and demerits are analyzed. Based on the GHG emission data from the World Resource Institute (WRI), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), the results of each indictor are calculated for the world, for the eight G8 industrialized countries (USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Russia), and the five major developing countries including China, Brazil, India, South Africa and Mexico. The paper points out that all these indicators have some limitations. The Indicator of Industrialized Accumulative Emission per Capita (IAEC) is put forward as the equitable indicator to evaluate the industrialized historical accumulative emission per capita of every country. IAEC indicator can reflect the economic achievement of GHG emission enjoyed by the current generations in every country and their commitments. The analysis of IAEC indicates that the historical accumulative emission per capita in industrialized countries such as UK and USA were typically higher than those of the world average and the developing countries. Emission indicator per capita per GDP, consumptive emission indicator and survival emission indicator are also put forward and discussed in the paper.

Cite this article

ZHANG Zhiqiang, QU Jiansheng, ZENG Jingjing . A quantitative comparison and analysis on the assessment indicators of greenhouse gases emission[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2008 , 18(4) : 387 -399 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-008-0387-8