This is a graph from a reputable source of CO2 concentrations in atmosphere the last decades:

enter image description here

I would expect that, as we have been using clean energy for some years now, the graph would start to trend to the horizontal asymptote we all wish to see soon.

Why is the start of the energetic transition not reflected in the graph?

  • $\begingroup$ Great, now I want to see the remainder of the chart from 2013 to today... $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael Doesn't matter. It is linear until today with a R close to 1 (wich made me think in the question) $\endgroup$
    – user20559
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


Because the energy transition has not yet been sufficient to reduce annual carbon emissions.

From Our World in Data, here's annual total CO2 emissions, by world region:

Annual total CO2 emissions by world region

Since the 1960s, growth in low-carbon energy sources has only grown from about 6% to about 16% (source)-- not enough to make a dent, given that total energy use has grown faster than that.

Looking just at electricity, here's production from fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewables:

World electricity production by source

Use of renewables is growing, and faster than fossil fuel use is growing -- but fossil fuel use continues to grow.

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    $\begingroup$ From that graph it looks like a reasonable takeaway is that the emerging markets, particularly China and eastern Asia, have outweighed the stabilization of Europe in the last 50-60 years. (not that the early countries "deserve" their share anymore than anyone else of course) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 16:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Yes, that seems to be the general gist of things, @JeopardyTempest $\endgroup$
    – AnoE
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 8:53
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    $\begingroup$ @JeopardyTempest a lot of the emissions in Asia are to manufacture products that are then sent to the Western world. Europe and North America were just outsourcing their carbon emissions. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Gimelist an interesting point. Looks like OurWorldInData also looks at that some $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Universal_learner solar being only about 4% of global (stationary) electricity generation, even as Asia is 95% of production, seems it's not really a very meaningful factor of the graph to date. And it's not like you can credit the producing country for the majority of the impact either, as the country's implementing them provides the money and commits to the change. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 7:48

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