How much of our daily CO2 emissions can wind avoid?

Each year we release millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas).

In 2011, the average amount of CO2 emitted by citizens of industrialized countries was around 10 tonnes. This is more than enough CO2 to fill ten three-story buildings in the EU. Certain places around the world have varying averages. According to World Bank data, North America has an average closer to 18 tonnes of CO2 per capita. India however emits 1.5 tonnes per capita, and subsaharian Africa emits only 0.1 tonnes.

Under the 20 percent Wind Scenario, a cumulative total of 7,600 million metric tons of CO2 emissions would be avoided by 2030, and more than 15,000 million metric tons of CO2 emissions would be avoided through 2050 in the USA.

Also, with the Chinese government’s current wind energy goals a 23 percent reduction in carbon intensity could be made by 2020.

In the EU, every kWh of wind energy that is used will save approximately 696g of CO2. EWEA estimates that wind energy avoided the emission of 140 million tonnes of CO2 in 2011 in the EU, equivalent to taking 33% of cars in the EU – 71 million vehicles – off the road. This avoided CO2 costs of around €3.5 billion (assuming a price of €25/t CO2).

Globally, in 2011 wind energy avoided the emission of 350 million tonnes of CO₂. GWEC estimates that this would avoid CO₂ costs of around 35 €billion assuming a price of €10/t CO.

You can find many more global wind numbers and figures in the GWEC’s Global Fact Sheet.

Choosing how your electricity is produced plays an important role in protecting the climate: it’s easy to switch to a green power provider; you request the change and your current and future providers will organise it themselves.