Total carbon emissions, per capita amounts, main drivers, and outlook.
Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary driver of climate change, but they’re not the only one.1 Other greenhouse gases include methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases (that includes hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride).2
While it’s difficult to quantify all greenhouse gas emissions, carbon dioxide emissions data provide a more straightforward way to understand the severity of their impact. This list of the top 15 countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions is based on the Global Carbon Project’s most recent data (2019) and OurWorldinData.org analysis.3
What Is the Right Way to Understand Carbon Emissions?
This article includes emissions numbers per country, but not everyone agrees that this is the best way to identify the worst offenders. Some experts believe that countries like China, whose emissions are high in part because it produces goods that are used by people all over the world, should be measured differently.4 For example, the difference between CO2 used in production vs. consumption in the United States is much smaller than China’s, meaning that in the U.S. much of the CO2 emissions come from people, while in China it comes from the manufacturing of products that go to the rest of the world.
Others think that the per-capita emissions numbers—the amount of emissions produced per person—is a more appropriate standard. This method allows us to understand those countries with smaller populations alongside those with larger ones more clearly.
Read the country profiles to learn more….
Source: Treehugger, 10 June 2021