There is growing consensus on the urgent need to curb global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, of which carbon dioxide (CO2) is a key contributor. Many countries are committed to reducing carbon emissions and there are on-going efforts to rank their emission contributions. However, comparing CO2 emissions on an absolute basis across countries can be challenging due to differences such as population size, economic structure and embedded emissions on top of measurement issues.
This paper, prepared by Temasek in collaboration with AlphaBeta as part of Temasek’s Ecosperity Conversations series, discusses the potential challenges and insights arising from a comparison of emissions across countries. For example, while economic growth is typically linked to increased energy consumption, it can be decoupled from carbon emissions if measures such as energy efficiency are implemented, renewable energy sources are tapped, or more fundamentally, the economy is structured towards having a greater share of services or advanced manufacturing. Collective action is also required from governments, businesses and consumers to achieve a low-carbon future.
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