Changement climatique - Recherche française (avec laboratoires CNRS) - 2010-2015


Attributing the increase in atmospheric CO2 to emitters and absorbers

Publication Year


  • Ciais, P.
  • Gasser, T.
  • Paris, J. D.
  • Caldeira, K.
  • Raupach, M. R.
  • Canadell, J. G.
  • Patwardhan, A.
  • Friedlingstein, P.
  • Piao, S. L.
  • Gitz, V.
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE Volume: 3 Issue: 10 Pages: 926-930 Published: 2013
1758-678X eISSN: 1758-6798

Climate change policies need to consider the contribution of each emitting region to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. We calculate regional attributions of increased atmospheric CO2 using two different assumptions about land sinks. In the first approach, each absorber region is attributed 'domestic sinks' that occur within its boundaries. In the second, alternative approach, each emitter region is attributed 'foreign sinks' that it created indirectly through its contribution to increasing CO2. We unambiguously attribute the largest share of the historical increase in CO2 between pre-industrial times and the present-day period to developed countries. However, the excess CO2 in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times attributed to developing countries is greater than their share of cumulative CO2 emissions. This is because a greater fraction of their emissions occurred more recently. If emissions remain high over the coming decades, the share of excess CO2 attributable to developing countries will grow, and the sink service provided by forested regions-in particular those with tropical forest-to other regions will depend critically on future tropical land-use change.

KeyWord(s) Plus
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
  • Geosciences
  • Social Sciences
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Environmental Studies
  • Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences

[Ciais, P.; Gasser, T.; Paris, J. D.] CE Orme Merisiers, CEA CNRS UVSQ, Lab Sci Climat & Environm, F-91191 Gif Sur Yvette, France; [Ciais, P.; Piao, S. L.] Peking Univ, Coll Urban & Environm Sci, Dept Ecol, Beijing 100871, Peoples R China; [Caldeira, K.] Carnegie Inst Sci, Dept Global Ecol, Stanford, CA 94305 USA; [Raupach, M. R.; Canadell, J. G.] CSIRO Marine & Atmospher Res, Global Carbon Project, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia; [Patwardhan, A.] Indian Inst Technol, SJ Mehta Sch Management, Bombay 400076, Maharashtra, India; [Friedlingstein, P.] Univ Exeter, Coll Engn Math & Phys Sci, Exeter EX4 4QF, Devon, England; [Piao, S. L.] Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Tibetan Plateau Res, Beijing 100085, Peoples R China; [Gitz, V.] CNRS CIRAD ParisTech EHESS, Ctr Int Rech Environm & Dev, F-94736 Nogent Sur Marne, France

Reprint Adress

Ciais, P (reprint author), CE Orme Merisiers, CEA CNRS UVSQ, Lab Sci Climat & Environm, F-91191 Gif Sur Yvette, France.

  • Australia
  • France
  • India
  • People's Republic of China
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Centre international de recherche sur l'environnement et le développement (CIRED), UMR8568
  • Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l'environnement (LSCE), UMR8212
Accession Number
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