Welcome to the numbers


Welcome to the numbers​


Increase in atmospheric CO2 caused by burning fossil fuels

Instead of expressing fossil fuel as billions of tonnes etc, I've converted everything to the ppm of CO2 that would be released should the fuel be burnt. 1 ppm of CO2 is produced by 8 GT of CO2 which is in turn produced by burning 2 GT of coal or oil, or 3 GT of methane.

Consumption / Yr

Coal   ppm Oil  ppm Gas  ppm Total  ppm (ppm of CO2 produced)
North America 0.43 0.36 0.26 1.04  
Central and S America 0.02 0.09 0.04 0.15  
Europe & Eurasia 0.37 0.32 0.33 1.02  
Middle East 0.01 0.12 0.11 0.23  
Africa 0.09 0.05 0.03 0.17  
Asia Pacific (China India Aust…) 1.73 0.42 0.16 2.31  
Total World 2.64 1.36 0.93 4.92  
Australia 0.04 0.01 0.01 0.06  

Production / Yr

Coal  ppm Oil  ppm Gas  ppm Total  ppm  
North America 0.47 0.26 0.22 0.95  
Central and S America 0.04 0.14 0.04 0.22  
Europe & Eurasia 0.35 0.35 0.26 0.95  
Middle East 0.00 0.47 0.11 0.58  
Africa 0.12 0.19 0.05 0.36  
Asia Pacific (China India Aust…) 1.82 0.16 0.12 2.09  
Total World 2.80 1.57 0.79 5.16  
Australia 0.19 0.02 0.01 0.22  


Coal  ppm Oil  ppm Gas  ppm Total  ppm

The most we can burn

to produce 50 ppm

North America 98 4 2 104  
Central and S America 6 12 2 20  
Europe & Eurasia 112 8 17 136  
Middle East 1 42 20 63  
Africa 13 7 4 24  
Asia Pacific (China India Aust…) 106 2 4 113  
Total World 336 75 50 460 13% of reserves
Canadian oil sands 0 9 0 9  
World total oil sands 0 84 0 84  
Australia 31 0 1 33  

Much of this CO2 will be absorbed by the ocean, but it is leading to acidification.

Data source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy (June 2010)


How fast is atmospheric CO2 increasing?

Calculating from the fuels burnt, we get: 4.9 ppm CO2 per yr
A literature search gives world's sinks in 2009 as: 2.1 ppm CO2 per yr
The actual readings of CO2 increase are:  2 ppm  CO2 per yr
There is a discrepancy, some CO2 is missing: 0.8 ppm CO2 per yr

In 2012, the CO2 level is 391 ppm.

At 2 ppm per year, that is 30 years to rise to 450 ppm CO2

Estimated emissions from worldwide fossil fuel use and the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 sourced from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/CO2/contents.htm .

 Estimated emissions from worldwide fossil fuel use and the estimated amount of CO2 absorbed by land and ocean, calculated by subtraction of the atmospheric CO2 increase from the estimated emissions from fossil fuels. 



Businesses that are threatened, are telling us there is no problem.

It makes sense to listen to and act upon the scientists' advice. 

We need to: 

  •     produce energy without producing  CO2
  •     develop transport with zero CO2 release
  •     get better at using and storing electricity
  •     use industrial processes that produce less CO2
  •     mop up the excess CO2 we have produced
  •     counter the business as usual arguments.
  •     find solutions to the huge investments in fossil fuels.

What is on the website?

On this website we're trying to produce a definitive collection of the technology for achieving the above.

We  also need to know how energy is produced at present in order to modify, improve, or avoid these methods.

It is difficult to give an accurate and unbiased opinion on many of the technologies as there are commercial and political pressures distorting or hiding much of the information. Also, everyone is naturally enthusiastic about and loyal to their project and may tend to exaggerate, or sell the advantages.  Many of the websites are written by PR writers making them  almost useless. 

There is also a loyalty to an employer or industry providing a living, and this can lead to a resistance to change, and often denial. There is a lot of misinformation produced by organizations funded by fossil fuel corporations and similar.

The whole site is under construction as we're trying to get the "facts" right and complete. Then we'll work on the wording, look, and feel.

If we've got facts wrong, please let us know at editor@anthroposane.org

If you want to volunteer to help write a section or two, please email us.

John Davis

David Sentinella


 For the source of the picture, and more information, click on it.

The calculations are very simple

The mass of the atmosphere is simply: air pressure x area of the Earth.

Mass of atmosphere=5x1015 tonnes

COproduced by burning is easy to calculate too.

Coal is on average C135 H96 O9 N S. So coal is 85% carbon.

Oil on average is approximately (CH2)n. So oil is 85% carbon

Gas is CH4. So methane is 75% carbon.

12 T (t) of Carbon combine with 32 Tt of oxygen to produce 44 T of CO2

CO2 produced = (Coal x 0.85 + Oil x 0.85 + Gas x 0.75) x 44/12

To convert from CO2 concentration by mass to volume ( molar).

MW CO2 is 44. 

MW air is 29

CO2 by volume = Mass CO2/Mass of atmos x 29/44

= Tonnes CO2/5 x 1015 x 29/44 x 106 ppm