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How CO2 Emissions Are Affected by the Weather

Climate scientists have shown that weather anomalies can exert a significant influence on a country's CO2 emissions and, to a lesser extent, on global emissions.

Published on 26 May 2017

What is the impact of the weather on CO2 emissions? Researchers have studied the variations in CO2 emissions of a large number of countries between 1990 and 2015. With this in mind, they used statistical methods to make the distinction between the effects associated with economic activity (GDP and energy efficiency) and those related to the climate.

Although a country's long-term economic activity is the primary factor affecting CO2 emissions, the researchers showed that weather anomalies have a measurable effect on the emissions of a large number of countries, and that they are also linked to heating and cooling needs. In 2014, the mild winter and fall in France and the moderate summer heat in Japan have contributed to the exceptional decline in the CO2 emissions for both countries (around 6%). This impact is particularly significant for countries in Western Europe (France, Germany, England, Poland, etc.) and typically reaches 1 kg of CO2 emitted per additional heating degree, per day and per person.

On a global scale, variations in CO2 emissions due to seasonal climate anomalies partially compensate each other, but are nonetheless perceptible.

The study was carried out in collaboration with Institute Pierre-Simon Laplace (CNRS/UPMC) and the French Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea.

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