The graph below shows average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per person in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy and Portugal between 1967 and 2007.
This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 11 Test 3 Writing Task 1.
Average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per person, 1967-2007
The line graph displays average carbon dioxide emissions each person in four different countries produced between 1967 and 2007.
Overall, while per-capita carbon emissions in the UK and Sweden went down over the course of this 40-year period, they went up in Italy and Portugal.
Despite a steady decline from about 11 to 9 metric tonnes, emissions in the UK remained higher than in the other three countries over these 40 years. Sweden’s emissions first rose from roughly 9 metric tonnes in 1967 to its maximum of about 10.5 metric tonnes in 1977. They then dropped significantly to only around 5.5 metric tonnes in 2007, making Sweden one of the smallest per-capita emitters of carbon dioxide of the four countries that year.
Average carbon emissions that each person in Italy was responsible for climbed gradually from approximately 4.5 to almost 8 metric tonnes between 1967 and 2007. In Portugal, each person only produced around 1.5 metric tonnes of emissions in 1967. This country’s emissions then grew steadily and reached a similar level to Sweden’s by 2007, at about 5.5 metric tonnes.
How to Paraphrase “Carbon Dioxide Emissions”
“Carbon dioxide emissions” is a common and well-recognized phrase. Don’t try to change it. Otherwise, we may give completely the wrong impression. For example, if we use “the average amount of carbon dioxide that each person produced”, readers may be confused. This is because the only carbon dioxide most people produce is when we breathe out. Alternatively, and with a different meaning of “produce”, an employee at a dry ice factory might produce vast quantities of the stuff.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t vary our language. Once we’ve established the context in our introduction paragraph that we’re talking about average carbon dioxide emissions per person, we don’t need to repeat “average”, “carbon dioxide”, and “per person” again and again in the rest of our essay. Using ‘emissions’ is enough. See how I used just ‘emissions’ in my third paragraph.
Besides, we can use these constructions to vary our language:
- Per-capita carbon emissions in the UK and Sweden decreased.
- The UK was the biggest per-capita emitter of carbon dioxide during the entire period.
- Average emissions that each person in Italy was responsible for climbed gradually from approximately 4.5 to almost 8 metric tonnes.
- On average each person in Portugal only produced around 1.5 metric tonnes of carbon emissions in 1967.
Note that I didn’t use “the amount of carbon dioxide emitted/produced/released”. I kept the original wording “carbon emissions”, but used different grammar.