After the face-off between the United States and the Soviet Union, two world superpowers emerged: the United States and China. The European Union is the third power cluster, while Africa is often termed the “continent of the future”. The following two tables present energy consumption and CO2 emissions in each of these key regions.
Energy Consumption in Europe and the World
The 28 countries in the European Union (E.U.-28) have, like the United States, experienced relatively stable levels of energy consumption for the last 20 years. Today, they use almost half as much energy as China, but still twice as much as all of Africa combined.
The figures speak for themselves1:
CO2 Emissions in Europe and the World
The European Union emits much less CO2See Carbon Dioxid than China and the United States. Its emissions have been decreasing since 1990, while CO2 output for the world as a whole is still increasing.
This table illustrates the trend2:
These shifts in energy consumption and emissions depend chiefly on changes in population and the economic development of the various continents. The emissions look very different when compared with the number of inhabitants3.
Emissions per Person by World Region
A region’s emissions do not always reflect its actual carbon footprintThe carbon footprint (also known as greenhouse gas inventory) of a good or service measures the impact human activities have on the environment ... . For example, China produces many goods for export, which are consumed in Europe and the United States but whose CO2 emissions are attributed to China4. The carbon footprint of a European resident is therefore around 30% higher than the footprint generated by his or her local consumption.
3Source: Global Carbon Atlas – 2017 figures
4See E.U. study – study