Turning Points: Trends in Countries’ Reaching Peak Greenhouse Gas Emissions Over Time

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Although the timing of when global GHG emissions need to peak is well-documented, there has been less research on when individual countries’ emissions have peaked. This paper fills this gap by analyzing which countries’ emissions peaked in the past and which countries have emissions reduction commitments that imply peaking in the future.

The paper documents steady progress in the number of countries reaching peak emissions over time. By 1990, 19 countries had peaked (representing 21 percent of global emissions) and by 2030 this number is likely to grow to 57 countries (representing 60 percent of global emissions). Among the 57 countries that have peaked already or have a commitment that implies a peak by 2030 are some of the world’s biggest emitters, including China, the United States, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Germany and Mexico.

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