New
Library
About
Ask Dr. Global Change
Site Map
Links

GCRIO Home ->arrow Ask Dr. Global Change Search

Ask Dr. Global Change

International data on fossil fuel use and related emissions

Last updated 27 June 2005
Originally answered 18 June 2004

Full Question

How does energy use in the U.S. compare to that of other countries?  How does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of greenhouse gas emissions? 

Answer

There are several key sources of information that permit international comparisons of energy use and emissions.  Among these are:

  • International Energy Agency
  • Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration
  • Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)

The sources, discussed below, vary according to the levels of detail, time periods covered, methodologies, etc.  Using these and other sources, there are many ways to compare the U.S. to other countries.  You can compare total energy use or emissions, compare use of individual fuels, emissions from specific sectors (transportation for example), per capita energy use and emissions, etc.  Using data from the International Energy Agency, we provide in the table below a sampling of comparisons between the U.S., the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the OECD, which includes most developed countries -- including the U.S.) and the world. 

International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency collects statistics on energy use from most countries and periodically issues reports that present and analyze the data.  A lot of the information is available online.  For a quick overview, see Key World Energy Statistics -- 2004 Edition (2004) [PDF].  Below are some of the data from that report for the US, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the world.

Selected Energy & CO2 Emissions Indicators for 2002
 
US
OECD
World
Population (million)
287.46
1,145.06
6,195.66
Gross Domestic Product or GDP (billion 95 US$)
9,196.40
28,435.02
35,317.65
GDP (Purchasing Power Parity or PPP) (billion 95 US$)
9,196.40
25,374.85
43,413.48
Total Primary Energy Supply or TPES (Mtoe)
2,290.41
5,345.72
10,230.67
TPES / Population (toe / capita)
7.97
4.67
1.65
TPES / GDP (toe / 000 95 US$)
0.25
0.19
0.29
TPES / GDP (PPP) (toe / 000 95 US$ PPP)
0.25
0.21
0.24
CO2 Emissions from fuel combustion (Mt of CO2)
5,652.30
12,554.03
24,101.83
CO2 Emissions / TPES (t CO2 / toe)
2.47
2.35
2.32
CO2 Emissions / Population (t CO2 / capita)
19.66
10.96
3.89
CO2 Emissions / GDP (kg CO2 95 US$)
0.61
0.44
0.68
CO2 Emissions / GDP (PPP) (kg CO2 / 95 US$ PPP)
0.61
0.49
0.56

Definitions:

  • GDP: Gross Domestic Product
  • TPES: Total primary energy supply (TPES) is made up of indigenous production + imports - exports - international marine bunkers ± stock changes. For the World Total, international marine bunkers are not subtracted from TPES.
  • Mtoe: Million metric tonnes of oil equivalent
  • toe: metric tonnes of oil equivalent
  • CO2: Carbon dioxide
  • PPPPurchasing Power Parity
  • kg: kilogram
  • t: metric tonnes
  • Mt: Million metric tonnes
  • mt:
  • 95 US$: U.S. dollars, 1995
  • OECD: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The IEA provides additional online access to Energy Statistics, Energy Balances and Graphs .  For other items, see IEA Publications, CD Roms and Papers.

Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) maintains Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data,  currently extending from 1990 through 2002.   The information is available as both PDF and Microsoft Excel files.  Unlike the IEA data, it includes not only CO2 emissions but also:

  • CH4 - Methane
  • N2O - Nitrous oxide
  • PFCs - Perfluorocarbons
  • HFCs - Hydrofluorocarbons
  • SF6 - Sulphur hexafluoride
  • CO - Carbon monoxide
  • NOX - Nitrogen oxides
  • NMVOCs - Non-methane volatile organic compounds
  • SOX - Sulphur oxides

The UNFCCC site also provides informative graphics such as:

U.S. Energy Information Administration

While the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) focuses primarily on the U.S., it also produces reports that facilitate comparisons between the U.S. and other countries.  The International Energy Annual includes a set of Microsoft Excel files that provide country-by-country data on CO2 emissions associated with fossil fuel use.  The EIA's International Energy Outlook also is useful in assessing long-term prospects for energy use and related carbon emissions.

Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC)

The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) provides Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil-Fuel Consumption  for major countries and regions, and for the world.  Unlike either the IEA or UNFCCC, the CDIAC data extends back for many years -- to the 18th century for some data sets.


The above entry is posted under the following topic(s): Emissions data and trends

To link uniquely to the question and answer displayed above, please refer to this page where they are permanently posted.

U.S. Global Change Research Information Office, Suite 250, 1717 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: +1 202 223 6262. Fax: +1 202 223 3065. Email: . Web: www.gcrio.org. Webmaster: .
U.S. Climate Change Technology Program Intranet Logo and link to Home