Carbon Dioxide Emissions By Country 2015

Carbon Dioxide Emissions By Country 2015
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C O N T E N T S:


  • Developed nations typically have high carbon dioxide emissions per capita, while some developing countries lead in the growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions.(More…)
  • In 2015, some 36.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide was emitted globally.(More…)
  • Experts say the climate crisis has become so acute that every country has to pitch in to help solve it, with no room for emissions in developing countries to reach the high levels that have been typical of rich countries.(More…)
  • Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas of concern for global warming and climatic change.(More…)
  • Human activities–mostly burning of coal and other fossil fuels, but also cement production, deforestation and other landscape changes–emitted roughly 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2015.(More…)
  • In that regard, the growth of emissions in 2017 represented a return to the norm following stagnating carbon levels in 2015 and 2016.(More…)


  • We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change–but not without you.(More…)
  • According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, changes in the national mix of electricity production–especially the shift toward cleaner-burning natural gas–accounted for 68 percent of the emissions reductions between 2005 and 2015.(More…)
  • When combining emissions from fossil fuels, industry, and land use change, the global economy released another 41 billion tonnes to the atmosphere in 2015, and will add roughly the same amount again this year.(More…)



Developed nations typically have high carbon dioxide emissions per capita, while some developing countries lead in the growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions. [1] The picture that emerges from these figures is one where–in general–developed countries and major emerging economy nations lead in total carbon dioxide emissions. [1]

The table below shows data compiled by the International Energy Agency, which estimates carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of coal, natural gas, oil and other fuels, including industrial waste and non-renewable municipal waste. [1]

Here we list the 20 countries that emitted the most carbon dioxide in 2015 (the most recent available data). [1]

This is a list of sovereign states and territories by carbon dioxide emissions due to certain forms of human activity, based on the EDGAR database created by European Commission and Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency released in 2015. [2] Countries by carbon dioxide emissions in thousands of tonnes per annum, via the burning of fossil fuels (blue the highest and green the lowest). [2] Carbon dioxide emissions for the top 40 countries by total emissions in 2013, given as totals and per capita. [2] As 21 countries are already proving, decoupling carbon dioxide emissions from economic growth is happening. [3] World carbon dioxide emissions are one way of measuring a country’s economic growth too. [4]

The data only considers carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement manufacture, but not emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry. [2] Carbon dioxide emissions, primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, have risen dramatically since the start of the industrial revolution. [5] Only looking at carbon dioxide emissions doesn’t give us the total for all greenhouse gases. [4]

In 2015, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions fell by 145 million tons, by far the largest decline of any country in the world. [6] The net result was a global increase in overall carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere in 2015, despite slowing global carbon dioxide emission growth the past two years. [6] Global carbon dioxide emissions set a new all-time record high in 2015. [6] Carbon dioxide emissions in 2015 were 36 million metric tons higher than in 2014, and marked the 6th straight year a new record high has been set. [6] Carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 were 505 million tons higher than in 2012, but then 2014 and 2015 respectively saw increases of 224 million tons and 36 million tons. [6]

China was the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide; the country accounted for around 28.21 percent of global CO2 emissions that year. [7] China saw the largest increase in single-sector emissions from 2012 to 2013 from its energy production, which increased by 365 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), or 4 percent. [3] National CO 2 Emissions from Fossil-Fuel Burning, Cement Manufacture, and Gas Flaring: 1751-2014, Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2017. [8] Global carbon (C) emissions from fossil fuel use were 9.795 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2014 (or 35.9 GtCO 2 of carbon dioxide). [9] The latest figures – published by the respected Energy Information Administration – show CO2 emissions from energy consumption – the vast majority of Carbon Dioxide produced. [4]

China led all countries with an increase of 3.1 billion tons, which represented a 51% increase in China’s carbon dioxide emissions over the past decade. [6] The U.S. has made great strides in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, while emissions in developing countries continue to grow. [6]

The World Resources Institute just updated its compendium of historical carbon dioxide emissions for each country in the world to include 2011. [10] Carbon dioxide emissions associated with energy and industrial production can come from a range of fuel types. [11] Over the past 5 years U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by 270 million tons. [6] The second positive note in the numbers is that the U.S. continues to lead the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. [6] It?s important to flip back and forth between per capita and total emissions in order to get the complete picture of carbon dioxide emissions around the globe. [12] On the other end of the spectrum was India, which led the world with a 112 million ton increase in carbon dioxide emissions from 2014. [6]

In 2015, some 36.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide was emitted globally. [7] In 1751, the first year where data is available, some 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide was produced worldwide. [7] There is one fact that can be taken for granted which has been linked greatly to anomalies in surface temperature: In recent years, there has been a tremendous surge in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. [7] Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) : Fossil fuel use is the primary source of CO 2. [8] Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S. doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2017. [8] In 2014, the top carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emitters were China, the United States, the European Union, India, the Russian Federation, and Japan. [8] Fourth-ranked United States was also listed as one of the biggest carbon dioxide emitters worldwide in per capita terms in 2014. [7]

Since carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas, this is an encouraging trend. [3]

Based on a 2015 GDP forecast of 3.1% by the International Monetary Fund, the Global Carbon Project projects a 2015 decline of 0.6% in global emissions. [9]

This represents a 10% decline in carbon dioxide emissions over that time period. [6] All above figures data sources: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Fossil-Fuel CO 2 Emissions page for 1751-2013 and BP Statistical Review of World Energy for 2014-2015, concatenated to CDIAC data for each fuel type. [13] In the chart below we show a range of potential future scenarios of global greenhouse gas emissions (measured in gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents), based on data from  Climate Action Tracker. [11] Global greenhouse gas emissions are broken down by sectoral sources in the sections which follow (showing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide individually, as well as collectively as total greenhouse gas terms). [11]

China, which has now spent a decade as the world’s leading emitter of carbon dioxide, saw a 12 million decline in emissions from 2014, its first decline in nearly 20 years. [6] The volume of carbon dioxide belched into the atmosphere from human activity this year is on track to decline slightly from last year’s emissions, according to a new analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday. [14] The increase in emissions in 2017 makes it more challenging for the world to limit warming to “well below 2C”, as per the Paris Agreement – at least in the absence of large-scale removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere from as-yet-unproven negative emission technologies later in the century. [15] GWP 100 values are used to combine greenhouse gases into a single metric of emissions called carbon dioxide equivalents (CO 2 e). [11]

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. carbon dioxide emissions were 2.5 percent less in 2015 than in 2014. [16] For comparison, the European Union, which has spent $1.2 trillion on support for wind, solar and bio-energy, increased its carbon dioxide emissions by 0.7 percent in 2015 over 2014 levels. [16] Carbon dioxide emissions in the United States fell again in 2015, according to new data from the federal government. [17] Russia has one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world, and natural gas is the primary source of energy and power generation in the country, which contributes approximately 50% of the total carbon dioxide emissions. [18] India, the third largest carbon dioxide emitter, is also planning to increase its carbon dioxide emissions as it continues to grow its economy in order to reduce poverty in the country through the use of coal, which is the most cost effective way to provide electricity to its citizens. [16]

What does the future of our carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions look like. [11] Despite the declines, in 2015 the U.S. emitted 5.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide (16% of the global total), behind China’s 9.2 billion tons (27% of the global total) but still well ahead of India’s 2.2 billion tons. [6] The United States has been burning coal, oil and natural gas far longer, and today the country, with just over 4 percent of the world?s population, is responsible for almost a third of the excess carbon dioxide that is heating the planet. [19] The United States, with its love of big cars, big houses and blasting air-conditioners, has contributed more than any other country to the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is scorching the planet. [19]

Global emissions increased from 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 1900 to over 36 billion tonnes 115 years later. [11] The global estimates fell within a range of about 0.3 0.15 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, implying that human carbon dioxide emissions were more than 90 times greater than global volcanic carbon dioxide emissions. [20] Volcanic activity today may pale in comparison to the carbon dioxide emissions we are generating by burning fossil fuels for energy, but over the course of geologic time, volcanoes have occasionally contributed to global warming by producing significant amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. [20] In 2013, another group of scientists–Michael Burton, Georgina Sawyer, and Domenico Granieri–published an updated estimate using more data on carbon dioxide emissions from subsurface magma that had become available in the years since the last global estimate. [20] In a 2011 peer-reviewed paper, U.S. Geologic Survey scientist Terry Gerlach summarized five previous estimates of global volcanic carbon dioxide emission rates that had been published between 1991 and 1998. [20] The U.S. is the second largest emitter of CO2, with approximately 5.27 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emission in 2012. [18] Despite the large reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the United States due to the greater use of natural gas, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed regulations to lower methane (another greenhouse gas) emissions from oil and gas production that it plans to finalize this spring. [16] Carbon dioxide emissions from burning energy — mainly coal, petroleum and natural gas — are the driving force behind climate change. [21] Estimates of global carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes have to take both erupted and non-erupted sources into account. [20] A study by Transport & Environment estimates that the continued use of biodiesel derived from vegetable oil will increase carbon dioxide emissions from transportation by nearly 4 percent compared to oil. [16] The biggest increase was in Belgium, where carbon dioxide emissions increased by 4.7 percent. [16] Since 2007, when they peaked, carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have been reduced by 12.2 percent. [16] According to the Washington Times, the United States has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions more than virtually any other nation in the world. [16] China intends to increase its carbon dioxide emissions through 2030 as it continues to grow its economy and to provide electric power to its citizens. [16] Feng K., Siu Y. L., Guan D. & Hubacek K. Analyzing drivers of regional carbon dioxide emissions for China. [22] As an example of a failed European policy, Europe?s plan to use biofuels to decrease carbon dioxide emissions ended up increasing those emissions. [16] The European Union has formulated policies against the use of hydraulic fracturing, has provided substantial support for the development of intermittent wind and solar technologies and biofuels, and has incorporated carbon reduction programs to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. [16] Casler S. D. & Rose A. Carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. economy. [22] They found, on average, biofuels from vegetable oil produce 80 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than the oil they replace, creating emissions equivalent to putting an extra 12 million cars on the road. [16] Below are the latest annual per-capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by country, from the United Nations Millenium Development Goals Indicators. [23] On the scale of carbon dioxide emissions, human sources far outweigh volcanoes. [20]

In 2015 the economy was 15 percent larger than in 2005, but the country emitted 23 percent less carbon dioxide per dollar of GDP last year compared with 10 years prior. [17]

Experts say the climate crisis has become so acute that every country has to pitch in to help solve it, with no room for emissions in developing countries to reach the high levels that have been typical of rich countries. [19] Its newly released global carbon budget for 2017 provides estimates of emissions by country, global emissions from land-use changes, atmospheric accumulation of CO2, and absorption of carbon from the atmosphere by the land and oceans. [15] To help put this into perspective, we developed the interactive above to let you compare annual carbon emissions of U.S. states with other countries. [12] Enter up to 10 countries to visualize carbon emissions per person or in total. [12]

Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas of concern for global warming and climatic change. [11] Greenhouse gases vary in their relative contributions to global warming; i.e. one tonne of methane does not have the same impact on warming as one tonne of carbon dioxide. [11] It should be noted that the U.S. is still the world’s 2nd largest overall emitter of carbon dioxide. [6] The U.S. also has the greatest historical inventory of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, because we spent decades as the world’s leader emitter by far. [6]

Note that carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change—nitrous oxide and methane are also greenhouse gases, but are not included here. [11]  A full description of data acquisition and original sources can be found at the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). [11]

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, human emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and cement production (green line) have risen to more than 35 billion metric tons per year, while volcanoes (purple line) produce less than 1 billion metric tons annually. [20] Texas doesn’t just top the list, its emissions — 641 million metric tons of carbon dioxide — are almost double those of California, the nation’s second largest carbon emitter, which spewed 353 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. [21] Clearly, EPA is regulation-happy finding ways to regulate that will make Americans pay more for energy despite the major strides achieved in reducing both carbon dioxide and methane emissions in the United States. [16] Occasionally, eruptions are powerful enough to release carbon dioxide at a rate that matches or even exceeds the global rate of human emissions for a few hours. [20] Human emissions of carbon dioxide continue day after day, month after month, year after year. [20]

Six countries produce nearly 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. [24] Global carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector stalled in 2014, the first time in 40 years during a period of economic growth, the International Energy Agency said Friday. [25] Global carbon dioxide emissions surged to record levels the year after the landmark 2016 Paris climate agreement was signed. [26] For the third year in a row, global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry have barely grown, while the global economy has continued to grow strongly. [27] By far the main culprit in global warming, carbon dioxide emissions stood at 32.3 billion tonnes in 2014, unchanged from the previous year, the IEA said. [25]

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use climbed 1.6 percent in 2017, with both emerging and developed economies contributing to the increase, according to BP Plc data published Wednesday. [28] Overall, the greenhouse gas emissions from activities that generate energy make up 26 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide output, according to the EPA. [29] Under current policies, its carbon dioxide emissions will double by then, according to the International Energy Agency. [24] Russia’s carbon dioxide emissions today average 35 percent lower than 1990 levels. [24]

Human activities–mostly burning of coal and other fossil fuels, but also cement production, deforestation and other landscape changes–emitted roughly 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2015. [20]

Although CO 2 emissions from U.S. coal burned elsewhere are generally attributed to the country where those emissions occur, the emissions nonetheless contribute to global climate change (and in fact less energy may be produced per unit of CO 2 emissions when the coal is burned in countries with less-efficient power plants). [22] Several individual U.S. states emit more carbon dioxide in a year than all the volcanoes on the planet combined do. [20] While acknowledging a large range of variability in the estimates, the authors concluded that the best overall estimate was about 0.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. [20] China is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide gas in the world with 8.1 billion metric tons in 2012. [18] Japan is the fifth largest emitter of CO2 worldwide, producing 1.26 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012. [18] Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, more than 2,000 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide have been added to the atmosphere by human activities according to the Global Carbon Project. [20] Wyoming, a major oil, gas and coal producer, and North Dakota, the center of the Bakken shale oil boom, both emitted more carbon dioxide in 2013 than at any point since at least 1990. [21] Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an odorless gas that is highly important to life on Earth. [18] Texas emitted more carbon dioxide from burning energy in 2013 than it did at any point since 2004. [21] States emitting the least carbon dioxide overall are the District of Columbia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Delaware and New Hampshire — states that are heavily reliant on hydropower and natural gas, and, except for D.C., are members of the nation’s first cap-and-trade program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [21] Human activities emit 60 or more times the amount of carbon dioxide released by volcanoes each year. [20]

In that regard, the growth of emissions in 2017 represented a return to the norm following stagnating carbon levels in 2015 and 2016. [26] Emissions from emerging economies and developing countries grew by 0.9% with the fourth-highest emitter, India, growing at 5.2% in 2015. [27] Developed countries, together, showed a strong declining trend in emissions, cutting them by 1.7% in 2015. [27]

The five countries with the highest carbon emissions face different scenarios that include a decrease in emissions even as the global level climbs. [30] United States Not only does the United States no longer hold the distinction as the country with the highest carbon emissions, but its emissions actually dropped 3.7% in the most recent year, according to the Carbon Atlas. [30]

China Photos/Getty Images It emits nearly twice the amount of greenhouse gases as the United States, which it surpassed in 2006 as the top emitter of carbon dioxide. [24] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use accounts for 57 percent of all key greenhouse gases. [29] The U.S. ranks number 2 on that list, according to 2011 data (the most recent year available from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center ), reports the Union of Concerned Scientists. [29] China emitted 8715.31 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from energy consumption. [29] Saudi Arabia tops that metric, with 19.65 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person in 2011, followed by Australia, the U.S., Canada and Russia. [29]


We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change–but not without you. [1] The following table lists the 2015 annual CO 2 emissions estimates (in thousands of CO 2 tonnes) along with a list of emissions per capita (in tonnes of CO 2 per year) from same source. [2] Within that same period, the top two global emitters, China and the United States, saw the largest single year percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions, with a rise of 4.3 and 1.4 percent respectively. [3] While equity considerations include more than just emissions–and all countries must take action to mitigate climate change–the actions of the world?s top emitters will likely be most heavily scrutinized–and rightly so: According to recent data, 10 countries produce around 70 percent of global GHG emissions. [31] For the energy sector, the world average is 372 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) per Million $GDP, but intensities vary across countries. [31] Buildings (6% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector arise from onsite energy generation and burning fuels for heat in buildings or cooking in homes. (Note: Emissions from electricity use in buildings are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.) [8] Other Energy (10% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): This source of greenhouse gas emissions refers to all emissions from the Energy sector which are not directly associated with electricity or heat production, such as fuel extraction, refining, processing, and transportation. [8]

Electricity and Heat Production (25% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): The burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions. [8]

Changes in land use can be important: estimates indicate that net global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other land use were over 8 billion metric tons of CO 2 equivalent, or about 24% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. [8] Together, these sources represent a large proportion of total global CO 2 emissions. [8] Fossil fuel emissions (including cement production) accounted for about 91% of total CO 2 emissions from human sources in 2014. [9] Since 1970, CO 2 emissions have increased by about 90%, with emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributing about 78% of the total greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011. [8] Industry (21% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily involve fossil fuels burned on site at facilities for energy. [8] Transportation (14% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector primarily involve fossil fuels burned for road, rail, air, and marine transportation. [8]

These differences result from varying emissions levels and size of economy, but are also dependent on factors such as a country?s energy mix the carbon intensity of sectors like electricity and heat generation, manufacturing, and transportation. [31] This estimate does not include the CO 2 that ecosystems remove from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in biomass, dead organic matter, and soils, which offset approximately 20% of emissions from this sector. [8]

This sector also includes emissions from chemical, metallurgical, and mineral transformation processes not associated with energy consumption and emissions from waste management activities. (Note: Emissions from industrial electricity use are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.) [8] The graph above shows emissions intensity for the top 10 emitters? whole economies and energy sectors. [31] Here?s a deeper look at these top 10 emitters–examining their total emissions, per capita emissions, emissions intensity, and historical cumulative emissions–based on data from WRI?s Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT 2.0). [31] The graph below shows cumulative emissions including Land-Use Change and Forestry (LUCF) for the top 10 emitters during the period 1990 to 2011, when complete data are available. [31] From 2012 to 2013, the top 10 emitters cumulatively increased their emissions by 2.2 percent, compared to the average annual growth of 2.4 percent over the last 10 years. [3] Even with that growth of emissions from 2012-2013 by top emitters, if we expand the timescale, their combined emissions have remained the same for the past decade. 3 In that time, the United States peaked its emissions in 2007, and the European Union, the third-largest emitter, saw steady reductions. [3] Australia, the world?s 15 th -largest emitter, saw the largest emissions decrease in a single sector, with its agricultural emissions dropping by 65 MtCO2e, or a reduction of 34.6 percent since 2012. [3] Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (24% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions): Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector come mostly from agriculture (cultivation of crops and livestock) and deforestation. [8] Global greenhouse gas emissions can also be broken down by the economic activities that lead to their production. [8] A reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions is not only the goal of environmentalists but also of pretty much every government in the world. [4] CO2 accounts for about 76 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. [5] This 2014 video uses 2006 data and a high-resolution NASA computer model to simulate how natural and human emissions of CO2 traevel through the earth’s atmosphere in one year starting January 1, 2006. [9] These data include CO 2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, as well as cement manufacturing and gas flaring. [8] The U.S. Sources discussion tracks emissions from the electric power separately and attributes on-site emissions for heat and power to their respective sectors (i.e., emissions from gas or oil burned in furnaces for heating buildings are assigned to the residential and commercial sector). [8] The IPCC has defined Waste and Wastewater as a separate sector, while in the Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions page, waste and wastewater emissions are attributed to the Commercial and Residential sector. [8] In this report, some of the sector categories are defined differently from how they are defined in the Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions page on this website. [8]

You can sift through data covering 186 countries, multiple economic sectors, several types of emissions and a 162-year timespan. [3] The cumulative CO 2 emissions between 1970 and 2013 from the top 40 countries in the world, including some extra-national bodies. [2] Almost half of emissions come from just four countries: the United States, China, European Union and Russian Federation. [31] Emissions from international shipping or bunker fuels are also not included in national figures, 2 which can make a large difference for small countries with important ports. [2] One fo the aims is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% of the 1990 levels by 2012 collectively for countries starred on this list. [4] Most of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from a relatively small number of countries. [5]

Greenhouse gas intensity is a measure of the amount of emissions relative to GDP. It is highest in Russia and China with the United States below the world average. [5] Seven of the top 10 emitters actually have a below average emissions intensity; Russia, China and Canada are above the world average. [31] Among the top 10 absolute emitters, only two have per capita emissions that are below the world average. [31] The previous chart defines the top 10 emitters based on their total annual emissions, also known as “absolute emissions.” [31] The picture of top emitters differs depending on how emissions are assessed. [31]

In areas such as the United States and Europe, changes in land use associated with human activities have the net effect of absorbing CO 2, partially offsetting the emissions from deforestation in other regions. [8] LUCF refers to emissions stemming from land use change and forestry. [31] With emissions from deforestation and land-use change taken into account, Indonesia becomes the most intensive emitter. [31] Energy production of all types accounts for 72 percent of all emissions. [5] Methane (CH 4 ) : Agricultural activities, waste management, energy use, and biomass burning all contribute to CH 4 emissions. [8] On the other end of the spectrum, India?s per capita emissions are only one-third of the global average. [31] Per capita greenhouse gas emissions are highest in the United States and Russia. [5] Emissions on a per capita basis bring contributions to climate change down to an individual level. [31] The level of GHG emissions per GDP is a commonly used metric of emissions intensity. [31] China CO 2 emission in millions of tonnes from 1980 to 2009. [2] This portion of emissions originates from coal (42%), oil (33%), gas (19%), cement (6%) and gas flaring (1%). [9] Fossil fuel emissions were 0.6% above emissions in 2013 and 60% above emissions in 1990 (the reference year in the Kyoto Protocol). [9] We also provide tools to explore other dimensions of climate policy, including countries? Paris Agreement mitigation contributions, projections of emissions from major emitters through 2100, and various dimensions of climate equity. [3] Emissions of non-CO 2 greenhouse gases have also increased significantly since 1900. [8] Globally, the primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions are electricity and heat (31%), agriculture (11%), transportation (15%), forestry (6%) and manufacturing (12%). [5] Nitrous oxide (N 2 O) : Agricultural activities, such as fertilizer use, are the primary source of N 2 O emissions. [8] The majority of these emissions came from an increase in electricity production, heating and transportation. [3] The majority of those reductions came from a decrease in the area of burning savannah 2, which reduced methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. [3]

The top three greenhouse gas emitters– China, the European Union and the United States–contribute more than half of total global emissions, while the bottom 100 countries only account for 3.5 percent. 1 Collectively, the top 10 emitters account for nearly three-quarters of global emissions. [3] More than 170 countries have ratified or otherwise joined the Paris Agreement, representing more than 80 percent of global emissions. [3] As countries implement their targets and policies and develop more detailed pathways to reduce their emissions, it?s important to fully understand our global emissions picture and how it has changed over time. [3]

WRI recently updated its CAIT Climate Data Explorer on the world?s top greenhouse gas-emitting countries with the latest global data available (2013). [3] Many developing countries also support a reduction in the target to keep global average temperature increases below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. [9] Countries that signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted a target to stop the average global temperature from rising before it reaches 2C above pre-industrial levels. [9] A lot has happened since countries met in Paris in 2015 and agreed on an accord to combat climate change. [3] They are a commonly used concept for understanding responsibility for climate change, since they are a proxy for the amount of current warming caused by specific countries. [31]

Regardless of how you analyze it, an international climate agreement cannot be successful without significant action from countries at the top of the emitters list. [31] The top 10 largest emitter countries account for 67.6% of the world total. [2]

In 2016, the largest CO2 producers included the United States and three members of the BRIC countries. [7]

These measures include reforestation, the introduction of a price for carbon, a reduction of livestock and a decreased use of fossil fuels in energy generation. [7] Global oceanic and land biotic carbon sinks from the Scripps atmospheric oxygen flask sampling network. [9] The five major emitters–the United States, European Union, China, Russian Federation, and Japan– together contributed two-thirds of the world?s historic CO2 emissions – using up around 37 percent of our global carbon budget. [31] Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels have significantly increased since 1900. [8]

The IPCC’s Energy Supply sector for global emissions encompasses the burning of fossil fuel for heat and energy across all sectors. [8] Over the past 10 years, the energy sector has remained the largest contributor to emissions over any other sector, representing 72 percent of global emissions in 2013. [3]

In order to save CO2 emissions, the United States, China, India and Brazil have started to add renewable sources to the energy mix. [7] In 2013, the largest national contributions to the net growth in total global emissions in 2013 were China (58% of the growth), USA (20% of the growth), India (17% of the growth), and EU28 (a decrease by 11% of the growth). [9] Transportation, Industry, Agriculture, and Land Use and Forestry are four global emission sectors that roughly correspond to the U.S. sectors. [8] Learn more about global emissions by visiting WRI?s CAIT Climate Data Explorer. [3] Methane, primarily from agriculture, contributes 16 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and nitrous oxide, mostly from industry and agriculture, contributes 6 percent to global emissions. [5]

The graph below expands the time period from 1850 to 2011, during which data only on CO2 emissions are continuously available. [31]

Since 2006, China keeps emitting more CO 2 than any other country. 3 4 5 6 7 Other powerful, more potent greenhouse gases, including methane, are not included in this data. [2] Here?s an interactive chart to explore it by country and by economic sector, showing how the top emitters have changed in recent years. [3] The country is now behind Iran, South Korea, Japan and Germany ? India is now the world’s third biggest emitter of CO2 – pushing Russia into fourth place ? The biggest decrease from 2008-2009 is Ukraine – down 28%. [4]

In 2015, the share of renewables in U.S. energy consumption rose to over 20 percent. [7] Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO? growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. [9]

Since the Industrial Revolution, however, energy-driven consumption of fossil fuels has led to a rapid increase in CO 2 emissions, disrupting the global carbon cycle and leading to a planetary warming impact. [11] Based on the updated data gathered by Peters et al. (2012) and the Global Carbon Project 20, if we switched to a consumption-based reporting system (which corrects for this trade), in 2014 the annual CO 2 emissions of many European economies would increase by more than 30% (the UK by 38%; Sweden by 66%; and Belgium's emissions would nearly double); and the USA's emissions would increase by 7%. [11]

Jackson, a professor of earth system science and chair of the Global Carbon Project, the non-profit organization that produced the study, said he thinks China’s emissions will rise slightly in coming years but could peak well before 2030. [14]

Despite stable emissions in the past few years, China still emitted almost twice as much CO2 in 2015 as the next biggest emitter, the United States. [32] The new analysis finds global fossil fuel emissions grew by 0.7% in 2014, then held steady in 2015. [32] Power companies switching from coal to natural gas made the single biggest contribution toward lower emissions in the U.S. in 2015, with lower overall consumption making the 2nd largest contribution. [6] Burning more oil and gas, but less coal, saw the US’s emissions fall 2.6% in 2015 and they are projected to fall a further 1.7% in 2016. [32] After a decade of rapid growth, China’s emissions rate slowed to 1.2 percent in 2014 and is expected to drop by approximately 3.9 percent in 2015, according to the report. [14] In 2015, China’s domestic emissions dropped by 0.7% and are expected to fall a further 0.5% in 2016. [32] Annual emissions for 2014, 2015, 2016 and estimates for 2017 are shown by the black bars. [15] The EU’s emissions rose by 1.4% in 2015, despite having declined over the long term. [32]

There are two key ways uncertainties can be introduced: the reporting of energy consumption, and the assumption of emissions factors (i.e. the carbon content) used for fuel burning. [11] “The only time in the past when we have had a drop in emissions is when we had global recessions, like the collapse of the Soviet Union, so that is really quite remarkable and it gives us hope,” said David Reay, a professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. [14] Every year the GCP provides an estimate of the global carbon budget, which estimates both the release and uptake of carbon including emissions from fossil fuels and industry, emissions from land-use changes, carbon taken up by the oceans and land, and changes in atmospheric concentrations of CO2. [15] The GCP?s new global carbon budget also incorporates updated land-use emission estimates that significantly revise past land-use change emissions, showing higher emissions prior to 1960, lower emissions between 1960 and 1999, and higher emissions from 1999 through to present. [15]

 we know, based on the quality of coal, its carbon content and how much CO 2 would be emitted for every kilogram burned (i.e. its emission factor). [11] If the UK imports coal from China then burns it for energy production, the CO 2 from combustion will have been emitted within the UK’s boundaries and it will therefore be accounted as emissions of the UK. If the UK imports aluminium from China, the energy and emissions necessary to mine this aluminium would have already been emitted within China’s boundaries; in this case the emissions are attributed to China. [11] Energy (energy, manufacturing and construction industries and fugitive emissions): emissions are inclusive of public heat and electricity production; other energy industries; fugitive emissions from solid fuels, oil and gas, manufacturing industries and construction. [11]

These differences are exemplified in global inequalities in energy provision, CO 2 emissions, and economic disparities. [11] Our latest data suggests that over the last few years (2014-2016), global annual emissions of CO 2 have approximately stabilized. [11] As the global inequalities in CO 2 emissions between countries begin to converge, within-country inequalities become more important. [11] If economic growth is historically linked to growing CO 2 emissions, why do countries have differing levels of per capita CO 2 emissions despite having similar GDP per capita levels? These differences are captured by the differences in the CO 2 intensity of economies; CO 2 intensity measures the amount of CO 2 emitted per unit of GDP (kgCO 2 per int-$). [11] Therefore, although the global challenge is to reduce emissions, some growth in per capita emissions from the world's poorest countries remains a sign of progress in terms of changing living conditions and poverty alleviation. [11] In 2011, the countries have changed, but the top 10 emitters still contributed 78 percent of global CO? emissions. [33] An American exit could prompt other countries to withdraw from the pact or rethink their emissions pledges, making it much harder to achieve the agreement?s already difficult goal of limiting global warming to a manageable level. [19] The total emissions for each year between 2014 and 2017 and the countries that were responsible for the change in emissions are shown in the figure below. [15] They argue that it is more likely that emissions over the next few years will plateau or only grow slightly, as countries implement their commitments under the Paris Agreement. [15] While the slowdown in emissions over the past few years and the “peaking” of emissions by a number of countries has been cause for cautious hope, this is tempered by the uptick in emissions projected in 2017. [15] In other words: some of the CO 2 produced (and reported) in emission records of Asian and Eastern European countries is for the production of goods consumed in Western Europe and North America. [11] Emissions in other European countries and North America shortly followed and produced CO 2 over the majority of this time period. [11] Other countries have followed similar trajectories, increasing their emissions over time. [33] On a per capita basis, U.S. emissions are well ahead of both of these countries, and remain among the highest in the world according to that measure. [6] The monthly emissions per capita in rich countries are mostly higher than the yearly emissions per capita in poorer countries. [11] If it turns out that fossil fuel emissions have peaked, this would spell good news for international climate targets as it suggests countries are on track to meet their national commitments under the Paris Agreement (dashed line in the graph below). [32] Some of China?s emissions are from the production of goods for the United States and other rich countries. [19] The chart below shows how production and consumption-based emissions have changed since 1990 across regions and countries. [11] The 28 countries of the European Union, taken as a group, come in just behind the United States in historical emissions. [19] It placed the greatest burden of emissions reductions on the countries with long histories of industrialization. [10]

The drop in emissions forecast for China in 2016 is largely down to a reduction in coal emissions of 1.8%, though this will be partly offset by a growth in emissions from oil of 4%, from natural gas of 7.2% and from cement production of 2.6%, provisional figures for January to September suggest. [32] These reconstructions detail the production quantities of various forms of fossil fuels (coal, brown coal, peat and crude oil), which when combined with trade data on imports and exports, allow for national-level reconstructions of fossil fuel production and resultant CO 2 emissions. [11] Although many people typically attribute CO 2 emissions to energy production, there are other important contributing activities, such as transportation and agriculture. [11] An economy powered by coal-fired energy will produce higher CO 2 emissions per unit of energy versus an energy system with a high percentage of renewable energy. [11] We assume that the energy necessary to produce these products was consumed within the exporting country’s boundaries, and therefore recorded in its reported CO 2 emissions. [11] Fuels which are traded, then ultimately burned (with CO 2 emissions as a result) within a country’s boundaries are included in production-based accounts. [11] If we forget the cumulative time dimension and focus only on annual emissions, how do more recent annual emission trends compare? In the chart below, we can view annual CO 2 emissions by country. [11] For context, at the beginning of this time period–1850–the United Kingdom was the top emitter of CO?, with emissions nearly six times those of the country with the second-highest emissions, the United States. [33] While the United States is historically responsible for more emissions than any other country, it is no longer the world?s largest single emitter of greenhouse gases. [19]

The coloured bars show the change in emissions between each set of years, broken down by country. [15]

India?s emissions increased a bit more slowly in 2017 than in the past few years, while the EU?s emissions have remained relatively flat since 2014 and did not noticeably change in 2017. [15] The current decline in emissions comes as the world’s economy has consistently grown more than 3 percent per year since 2012. [14] This will likely be a smaller decrease than in past years, as U.S. emissions have declined by around 1.2% per year over the past decade. [15] Should it turn out that fossil fuel emissions have stabilised in 2014-16, it’s notable that they will have done so at the same time that the world economy has been growing at more than 3% per year, say the authors. [32] The largest emitter, Qatar, has per capita emissions of 50 tonnes per year (1243 times that of Chad, the lowest emitter). [11] Tellingly, while the United States was the world?s second-largest emitter in both years, its emissions in 2011 were 266 times greater than those in 1850. [33]

On the x-axis we have the spectrum of global emitters (where those at the far left have very low per capita emissions, and those at the far right have the world's highest per capita emissions). [11] With an understanding of the link between CO 2 and global temperatures, as well as knowledge of the sources of emissions, an obvious question arises: How much could we reduce our emissions by, and how much would it cost? The possible cost-benefit of taking global and regional action on climate change is often a major influencing factor on the effectiveness of mitigation agreements and measures. [11] The large growth in global CO 2 emissions has had a significant impact on the concentrations of CO 2 in Earth’s atmosphere. [11] The visualisation below presents the long-run perspective on global CO 2 emissions. [11] Other regions—Latin America, Asia and Africa—started contributing to global CO 2 emissions much later, largely contained to the 20th and 21st centuries. [11] Insofar as emissions are a correlate of development, this is good news and reflects the fact that a global middle class is developing, but it does present important challenges in terms of global CO 2 emissions. [11] Despite this downward trend across some nations, emissions growth in transitioning economies dominates the global trend—as such, global annual emissions have continued to increase over this period. [11] Growth in emission is typically expressed as a percentage increase or decrease on the previous year, or compared to a specific historical period. [32] With coal emissions a good signal of which direction things are going in, addressing emissions growth over the next few years will be instrumental in how realistic our collective chances are for staying on track to meet climate targets in the longer term. [32] How did we arrive at such an unprecedented – and precarious – state? We recently updated CAIT 2.0, WRI?s climate data explorer, with CO? emissions estimates from 1850-2011, providing a rich data set that documents the historical growth in emissions throughout the world. [33] CAIT?s international data set is now updated with historic CO? emissions totals starting from 1850 and CO? energy sector emissions starting from 1971. [33] Recent data reveals that global CO? emissions were 150 times higher in 2011 than they were in 1850 1. [33] Read on for a visual history of some national, regional, and global CO? emissions milestones over the past 160 years. [33] This contrasts with the global north where emissions are typically above five tonnes per person (with North America above 15 tonnes). [11] All would require a very urgent and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. [11] If we look at the distribution of per capita emissions in 2014, large global inequalities remain. [11] In the map below we compare CO 2 emissions per capita through time since 1950. [11] Today, CO 2 emissions are spread fairly equally between coal, oil and gas. [11] Multiplying the quantity of coal burned by its emission factor, we can estimate Canada's CO 2 emissions from coal in 1900. [11] Historically, CO 2 emissions have been primarily driven by increasing fuel consumption. [11] Uncertainty can be introduced in the assumptions nations make on the correct CO 2 emission factor for certain fuel types. [11] In an ideal world, this energy could be provided through 100% renewable energy: in such a world, CO 2 emissions could be an avoidable consequence of development. [11] Step 3:  converting energy produced to CO 2 emissions. [11] On the y-axis we have the growth (in %) in CO 2 emissions that each segment of emitters has undergone from 1998-2013. [11] China’s rapid growth in emissions over the last few decades now makes it the world’s second largest cumulative emitter, although it still comes in at less than 50% of the U.S. total. [11] Most notably, Indonesia and Brazil ranked in the top 10 emitters, as a significant part of their national emissions come from the land-use change sector. [33] In 2011, per capita emissions varied greatly even within the top 10 CO? emitters. [33] Note that a number of nations that are already top emitters are likely to continue to increase emissions as they undergo development. [11] The GCP reports that the 2017 increase in coal consumption – and, in turn, overall Chinese emissions – is driven by a combination in increased industrial production and reduced hydroelectric generation associated with lower-than-usual rainfall. [15] Industrial growth has started to slow down again over the past three months, which might signal slower emissions growth and coal consumption in 2018. [15] In contrast to CO 2 emissions growth in low to middle income economies, trends across many high income nations have stabilized, and in several cases decreased in recent decades. [11] The sum of all gases in their CO 2 e form provide a measure of total greenhouse gas emissions. [11] CO 2 e is derived by multiplying the mass of emissions of a specific greenhouse gas by its equivalent GWP 100 factor. [11] To make a fair comparison of contributions, we have to therefore compare emissions in terms of CO 2 emitted per person. [11] CO 2 emissions are most typically measured and reported in terms of CO 2 “production”. [11] The shift in industrial production from high-income to transitioning economies, and its impact on CO 2 emissions, is discussed in the next section. [11] In the calculation of per capita figures, both CO 2 emissions and GDP are divided by population size. [11]  To begin to stabilise—or even reduce—atmospheric CO 2 concentrations, our emissions need to not only stabilise but also decrease significantly. [11] The best estimate of 2017 U.S. emissions is for a decline of about 0.4%, though they could decrease by as much as 2.7% or increase by as much as 1.9%. [15] This changed in 2017, with little-to-no reductions in U.S. emissions and a sizeable increase in Chinese emissions. [15] Negative values show reductions in emissions, while positive values reflect emission increases. [15] Emission reduction trajectories associated with a 66% chance of avoiding more than 2C warming by starting year, with new 2017 emissions added. [15] Most nations across sub-Saharan Africa, South America and South Asia have per capita emissions below five tonnes per year (many have less than 1-2 tonnes). [11] Annual per capita emissions in industrialized regions like North America and Europe were still far greater than per capita emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia – despite consistent emissions growth in these regions. [33] Since capita meat intake is strongly linked to GDP levels, per capita emissions of nitrous oxide and methane tend to be much larger in high-income nations. [11] As shown in the earlier graph, Asia?s per capita emissions still remain on a much lower level than in western regions. [33] As the blue line shows, emissions reductions will need to pick up momentum everywhere to meet the goal of limiting warming to the internationally agreed goal of staying “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels. [32]

This trade data on fuel imports and exports is an essential component in reconstructing historical emissions. [11] We now also have 2011 data available for all sectors and gases, and have introduced a cumulative emission calculation that allows for direct analysis of historic contributions. [33] Total greenhouse gas emissions (measured in their carbon-dioxide equivalent values) by sector are shown in the chart below. [11] Land-use changes, such as deforestation and fires, comprised 11% of total emissions in 2017, marginally down from the 13% average over the past decade. [15] The UK, once the world?s highest emitter, stabilized its total CO? emissions. [33] The most obvious development was the rise of China?s emissions in the first part of the 21st century and its overtaking of the United States as the world?s largest emitter after 2005. [33] China surpassed the United States a decade ago, and its emissions today are about double the American figure. [19] China committed to reaching a peak in its emissions by 2030 in a voluntary climate pledge made prior to the United Nations’ ongoing climate negotiations. [14] This differs from the commonly used term ” carbon budget “, referring to how much emissions are left to meet a climate target, such as avoiding 2C warming. [15] The scientists’ central projection is for a 0.2% rise, but uncertainties inherent in these kind of carbon budget calculations means fossil fuel emissions could fall by as much as 1%, or rise by up to 1.8%. [32]

Of the 9.9bn tonnes of carbon in the form of CO2 emitted from fossil fuels in 2015, 41% came from coal, 34% from oil, 19% from gas, 5.6% from cement production and 0.7% from flaring. [32] The topline from the Global Carbon Project is that the amount of CO2 we put into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, gas flaring and cement production has held steady for three years in a row, neither increasing nor decreasing significantly. [32]

Human-caused sources of CO2 over time (fossil fuels/industry and land use change) sinks of CO2 (land plants, oceans and the atmosphere) All figures are in billions of tonnes of carbon per year (GtC / yr). [32]

Carbon efficiency: the amount of CO 2 emitted per unit energy (grams of CO 2 emitted per kilowatt-hour). [11]

This entry provides a historical to present day perspective of how CO 2  emissions have evolved, how emissions are distributed, and the key factors that both drive these trends and hold the key to mitigating climate change. [11] That’s one of the big reasons climate change is such an urgent issue and why we must find a way to stop the trend, and fast: With emissions like these, more than ever, each year matters. [10] For the most recent 10-year period, U.S. emissions declined by 622 million tons. [6] India was again in 2nd place with a gain of 1.0 billion tons, but its growth rate for emissions was higher at 83% for the decade. [6] Between 1850 and 1960, the world generally experienced a constant growth of emissions, due largely to industrialization and population growth, particularly in the United States. [33] A flattening of emissions in 2014 and this year’s expected decrease contrast with the rapid growth of emissions over the past decade. [14] Both methane and nitrous oxide are also important sources, accounting for around 17 and 7 percent of emissions, respectively. [11] World emissions have increased by about 40 percent since Kyoto. [10]

In the most extreme example to date, Lui et al. (2015) revealed that China overestimated its annual emissions in 2013 by using global average emission factors, rather than specific figures for the carbon content of its domestic coal supply. 23 As the world's largest CO 2 emitter, this inaccuracy had a significant impact on global emissions estimates, resulting in a 10% overestimation. [11] China is the world’s biggest emitter, responsible for 29% of global emissions in 2015. [32]

The bloc is the world’s third largest emitter, responsible for 10% of global CO2 emissions in 2015. [32] The Global Carbon Project’s results tentatively suggest CO2 emissions from fossil fuels may be showing signs of peaking. [32] This week, scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project released their annual stocktake of global CO2 emissions; where they come from and where they end up. [32] Data: CO2 emissions (also by fuel type), and data on trace gas emissions, aerosols, the carbon cycle, the Full Global Carbon Budget (1959-2013), land use and more. [11] Early estimates from the Global Carbon Project (GCP) using preliminary data suggest that this is likely to change in 2017 with global emissions set to grow by around 2%, albeit with some uncertainties. [15] As previously discussed by Carbon Brief, the later that global emissions peak the more rapid the reductions must be to limit warming to 2C. The figure below shows how the rate of reduction varies based on peak year, adding in the new estimated 2017 emissions. [15] Nations like China have enormous populations, and therefore very large amounts of total carbon emitted each year — almost 9 billion metric tons of CO2 in 2013, or approximately 28 percent of the world?s carbon emissions. [12] No state in the U.S. has a lower per capita carbon emissions than large nations like China, India and Brazil. [12] The anticipated decrease in CO2 emissions comes even as the world economy is growing, suggesting a turning point in clean energy development–and a long-hoped-for “decoupling” of economic growth and increased carbon emissions. [14]

The link between economic growth and CO 2 described above raises an important question: do we actually want the emissions of low-income countries to  grow despite trying to reduce global emissions? In our historical and current energy system (which has been primarily built on fossil fuels), CO 2 emissions have been an almost unavoidable consequence of the energy access necessary for development and poverty alleviation. [11] Much of the slowdown in the growth of global emissions in recent years has been driven by a combination of reductions in the U.S. and China, as well as relatively little growth in emissions in other countries. [15] The future trajectory of global emissions may hinge on whether wealthy, developed countries agree to fund clean energy development in India and other rapidly developing countries in the final week of negotiations in Paris. [14] By looking at these emissions trends on a per person basis, we can observe that, while global emissions were still rising overall, most of the industrialized countries stabilized their per capita emissions during the second half of the 20th century. [33]

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel and industry since 1960 (top left); global emissions by fuel type (middle left); Territorial (solid) and consumption (dashed) emissions by country group (bottom left); territorial emissions from biggest emitters (top right); per capita emissions from biggest emitters (bottom right). [32] Annual global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (black bars) and drivers of changes between years by country (coloured bars). [15] Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by major country and rest of world from 1959-2017, in gigatons CO2 per year (GtCO2). [15]

Global CO2 emissions since 1980 (solid black) and country pledges under the Paris Agreement (dashed) compared to a high emissions scenario (orange) and a scenario compatible with limiting warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels (blue). [32]

The continuing acceleration in global CO2 emissions leads to some crazy numbers: Over the past 10 years, the world has emitted more CO2 than it did from the entire period since the start of the Industrial Revolution up to about 1970. [10] Over the past three years, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have remained relatively flat. [15] The figure below shows global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, divided into emissions from China (red shading), India (yellow), the U.S. (bright blue), EU (dark blue) and the remainder of the world (grey). [15] Total CO2 emissions are likely to be similar as in 2015, with the increase in fossil fuel emissions being offset by the decrease in land-use emissions. [15] Total CO2 emissions decreased by about 2% between 2015 and 2016, driven entirely by lower land-use emissions. [15] Of the total CO2 emissions in 2015, 44% stayed in the atmosphere (light blue below), plants absorbed 31% (green) and the oceans 26% (dark blue). [32]

As the second biggest emitter, the U.S. is responsible for 15% of global emissions in 2015. [32] India, which contributes 6.3% of global emissions, saw its emissions rise by 5.2% in 2015. [32]

After a rapid increase in global emissions of around 3% per year between 2000 and 2013, emissions only grew by 0.4% per year between 2013 and 2016. [15] For global emissions to continue their decline, emissions in China, the U.S., and Europe would have to drop faster than the increases in India, Southeast Asia and the rest of the developing world, said Daniel Schrag, director of Harvard University’s Center for the Environment. [14] China represents the single most important reason for the resumption of global emissions growth in 2017. [15]

Emissions from Russia fell by 45 percent over the next five years, but that didn’t even cause a dent in world CO2 emissions growth. [10] While CAIT has a full inventory of all six greenhouse gases for 1990-2011, which also includes land use change and forestry emissions (LUCF), pre-1990 data is only available for CO2 excluding LUCF. Therefore, this historical analysis focuses mainly on CO2 emissions excluding LUCF to make a comparable analysis. [33] Averaged over the last decade, emissions from fossil fuels and industry account for 91% of human-caused CO2 emissions, with 9% coming from land use change. [32]

Top: Time series of fraction in % of the countries and regions CO2 emissions and bottom: cumulative emissions since 1751. [13]

Data source: CDIAC primary data (1850-2014) and extensions by using BP’s preliminary energy consumption data for each fuel type (2015-2016). (a) For the total developed and developing countries and regions. (b) For developed countries and regions: “Russia” 0.6 x USSR (1850-1991) + Russian Federation (1992-2015). [13] Energy consumption by fuel source from 2000 to 2015, with growth rates indicated for the more recent period of 2010 to 2015. [32]

Chancel, L. and T. Piketty (2015), “Carbon and inequality: From Kyoto to Paris. [11] Data and chart design from Robbie Andrew at CICERO and the Global Carbon Project. [15] Carbon pollution is the main driver of global climate change. [12]

As Prof Richard Betts explained in his guest post for Carbon Brief last week, 2016 will be the first full year in which atmospheric CO2 concentration stays above the 400 ppm milestone. [32] About 54% of CO2 emitted in 2016 accumulated in the atmosphere, while the remainder was taken up by carbon sinks – 24% by the land and 22% by the ocean. [15]

How much does each country contribute? The United States is one of the world?s largest carbon emitters, with more than 318 million people — and many states have population sizes greater than most nations. [12] In the chart below we have plotted average carbon intensities by country (y-axis) against gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (x-axis, log scale). [11]

Residence time is the time required for emitted CO 2  to be removed from the atmosphere through natural processes in Earth's carbon cycle. [11] Although carbon intensities have generally shown a steady, gradual decline in recent decades, dramatic short-term fluctuations in intensity can occur and are typically the result of significant short-term political or economic change. [11] The goods exported from Russia, China, India, and the Middle East typically have a high carbon intensity, reflecting the fact that their exports are often manufactured goods. [11]

Global Carbon Project source and sink estimates in gigatons carbon (GtC) – note, not CO2 – for every Global Carbon Budget published between 2016 and 2017. [15] Source: Le Qu C. et al. ( 2016 ) Global carbon budget 2016. [32] Annual global carbon budget of sources and sinks from 1959-2017. [15] It has published an annual global carbon budget report since 2006. [15] By the end of 2016, total global emissions since the start of the industrial era will total 565bn tonnes of carbon or 92% of the carbon budget for 1.5C. [32] This ends up changing estimates of cumulative carbon emissions since the pre-industrial period, but given the large uncertainties involved the authors caution against using these revisions to draw conclusions about remaining carbon budgets associated with staying within the 2C or 1.5C warming targets. [15] Reduced carbon emission estimates from fossil fuel combustion and cement production in China. [11]

Any halt in China’s meteoric rise in CO2 emissions since the early 2000s is, therefore, likely to have global consequences. [32] In 2017, overall CO2 emissions – including land use – are likely to increase by around 1.5%, as land-use emissions are estimated to remain roughly the same as in 2016. [15]

Country size and the level of uncertainty in these calculations have a significant influence on the inaccuracy of our global emissions figures. [11] Ajay Mathur, the director of India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency, said his country would “absolutely” cut back on coal if it receives international support to reduce the cost of expanding renewable energy, according to recent news reports from Paris. [14]

2015 marked the largest year-over-year decline in coal demand since 1965, the first year the BP Review began tracking energy statistics. [6] As I noted in a previous article on the recently-released 2016 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, the world set a new all-time high for fossil fuel consumption in 2015. [6] In 2015 overall demand for energy in the U.S. fell by 20 MMtoe. [6]

China?s 29 MMtoe demand decline in 2015 was the largest on record, and was the result of flat electrical demand, higher production of renewable power, an increase in natural gas consumption, and a huge increase in nuclear power (+29%) production. [6]

While the United States kept its place as the top CO2 emitter until 2005, Asian countries also started to emerge, led by China. [33] Recent analyses by Climate Action Tracker, an alliance of European think tanks, suggest that both countries are on track to beat the targets they set in the Paris agreement, even as the United States backs away. [19] New analysis from Climate Dynamics this week finds that to keep warming well below 2C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C in the most cost-effective way, rich countries must phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030, China by 2040 and the rest of the world by mid-century. [32]

Energy experts say that poorer countries may be able to develop their economies without depending entirely on fossil fuels, with new technologies like renewable power and electric cars plunging in cost and opening the possibility of a widespread cleanup of the world?s energy system. [19] This correlation is also present over time: Countries begin in the bottom-left of the chart at low CO 2 and low GDP, and move upwards and to the right. [11] The graph above shows the development of the current top five CO?-emitting countries since 1960, with the United Kingdom presented for comparison. [33]

How bad was 2015 for the coal industry? Since 1965, annual coal demand has only declined by over 50 million metric tons of oil equivalent (MMtoe) twice. [6] On Thursday, President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from a 195-nation agreement on climate change reached in Paris in 2015. [19] It means the United States — the country with the largest, most dynamic economy — is giving up a leadership role when it comes to finding solutions for climate change. [19]

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, changes in the national mix of electricity production–especially the shift toward cleaner-burning natural gas–accounted for 68 percent of the emissions reductions between 2005 and 2015. [17] Despite potentially significant implications for U.S. climate and energy policy, there has been no quantitative analysis of whether the gas boom and changes in the fuel mix of the power sector are indeed driving the decrease in U.S. CO 2 emissions. [22] During the economic recovery, 2009–2013, the decrease in U.S. emissions has been small (<1%), with nearly equal contributions from changes in the fuel mix, decreases in energy use per unit of GDP, changes in U.S. production structure, and changes in consumption patterns. [22] Other factors slowed the growth of emissions between 1997 and 2007: decreases in the energy intensity of GDP; changes in the consumption patterns of U.S. consumers; shifts in production structure; and decreases in the use of coal as an energy source. [22] Changes in the production structure of the U.S. economy (that is, the volume and type of intermediate goods demanded) and the fuel mix of the energy sector contributed 30% and 17% of the initial (2007–2009) decrease in emissions, respectively, while increases in the energy intensity of the U.S. economy and changing consumption patterns exerted modest upward influences on emissions during the same period. [22] Between 2009 and 2011, consumption (consump.) volume rebounded, population grew and the energy intensity of output increased, driving up emissions by 1.3% against modest decreases in the carbon intensity of the fuel mix and shifts in production structure and consumption patterns. [22] Together, China and India accounted for nearly half of the increase in global carbon emissions.EU emissions were also up (1.5%) with just Spain accounting for 44% of the increase in EU emissions. [34] For feedstock uses of fossil fuels, carbon stored in products such as plastics is subtracted from reported emissions for the states where they are produced. [35] Emissions may be underestimated to the extent that actual use of biomass energy is not carbon neutral. [35] As with energy intensity, the states with high carbon intensity of energy supply tend to be the states with high per capita emissions. [35]

The states with the highest rates of emissions per capita in 2015 also tended to have higher energy-intensity values: Wyoming (24,000 Btu per chained 2009 dollar of GDP), Louisiana (20,000 Btu per dollar), West Virginia (19,000 Btu per dollar), North Dakota (16,000 Btu per dollar), and Montana and Alabama (both about 14,000 Btu per dollar). [35] From 2014 to 2015, 31 states saw a decrease in emissions, while 18 experienced an increase–Oregon’s emissions were unchanged. [35] These reductions in methane emissions have occurred despite natural gas production increasing by 50 percent between 2005 and 2015. [16] In Vermont, the largest share of emissions in 2015 came from the transportation sector (55%, or 3 million mt), predominantly from petroleum, while the electric power sector share rounded to 0.0% because Vermont had virtually no reported generation using fossil fuels. [35] The modest effect of changes in the fuel mix of the energy sector on emissions in recent years suggests that further increase in the use of natural gas may be of limited benefit in decreasing emissions. [22] In these studies, future increases in natural gas use act to both reduce domestic coal use and slow the growth of renewable energy, resulting in little net change to cumulative CO 2 emissions 17, 19, 20, 21. [22] SDA is a popular tool in assessing the contributions of different factors and industry sectors to changes in energy use and CO 2 emissions over time. [22] Over a given period of time, any changes in CO 2 emissions in a country can be represented by equation (2), in which the seven factors of population, fuel mix, energy intensity, production structure, consumption patterns and consumption volume, plus household direct emissions, fully account for the changes in CO 2 emissions. [22] In the sixth term, Δ y v is change in per capita consumption volume, and the term represents the change of total CO 2 emission caused by a change in per capita consumption volume, with population size, fuel mix, energy intensity, production structure and consumption patterns staying constant. [22] In each panel, the solid black line shows the percentage change in CO 2 emissions triggered by changes in the corresponding final demand component, and the other lines show the contribution to the change in emissions from consumption volume (red), population (yellow), consumption patterns (green), production structure (blue), fuel mix (orange) and energy intensity (purple). [22] Between 2009 and 2011, rising consumption volume, population growth, and increasing energy intensity urged emissions up by a combined 4.0% (2.2%, 1.5% and 0.3%, respectively), which was only partly offset by the changes in consumption patterns (−1.1%), production structure (−1.0%) and fuel mix (−0.6%), resulting in an actual increase in emissions of 1.3% ( Fig. 3 ). [22] Between 2011 and 2013, increases in population and consumption volume again pushed emissions upward, but overall emissions decreased by 2.1% due to further changes in production (prod.) structure, consumption patterns, decreasing use of coal and decreases in energy intensity of output. [22] Although increased use of natural gas by the energy sector has helped to keep U.S. CO 2 emissions from rising during the economic recovery of 2009–2013, our decomposition analysis shows that decreases in the energy intensity of the manufacturing, transport and service sectors over the same period were even more important, and that the largest decrease in emissions was due to decreased consumption during the recession of 2007–2009. [22] Assuming no change in emissions outside the power sector, the new rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2014 to limit CO 2 emissions from power plants will require U.S. emissions to decrease to 4,200 Mt CO 2 in 2030—a further 20% reduction from 2013 levels 4. [22] Sustaining economic growth while also drastically reducing emissions to the levels targeted by the Obama administration 27 will depend upon large additional decreases in the energy intensity of the U.S. economy as well as radical decarbonization of the energy sector (that is, very large changes in the fuel mix of the energy sector away from fossil fuels and toward renewables and/or nuclear energy). [22] Since 2009, the slow recovery of the U.S. economy has urged emissions backup, but has been closely balanced by decreases in energy intensity, especially in the transport, manufacturing and service sectors ( Fig. 2a ), as well as changes in the fuel mix of the energy sector. [22] When combined with changes in the fuel mix of the energy sector (−1.2%) and shifting consumption patterns (−0.2%), the net effect was a 2.1% decrease in emissions during 2011–2013 ( Fig. 3 ). [22] It has been widely discussed that both emissions per unit of energy consumption (fuel mix) and energy efficiency (energy consumption per unit of economic output) are vital to the emission intensity of an economy 49, 50. [22] The states with the most carbon-intensive energy supply as measured in kilograms of CO2 per million Btu (kg CO2/MMBtu)–West Virginia (79 kg CO2/MMBtu), Wyoming (77 kg CO2/MMBtu), Kentucky (74 kg CO2/MMBtu), Utah (72 kg CO2/MMBtu), and Indiana and North Dakota (both about 70 kg CO2/MMBtu)–are all states with coal as the dominant emissions source (Table 2). [35] Many factors contribute to variation in the amount of emissions per capita, including climate, the structure of the state economy, population density, energy sources, building standards, and explicit state policies to reduce emissions. [35] The physical size of a state, as well as the available fuels, types of businesses, climate, and population size and density, all play a role in determining the level of both total and per capita emissions. [35] Incorporating methane in the analysis would tend to reduce the climate benefit of gas via the fuel mix of the power sector because of fugitive methane emissions, which may be substantial 23, 53. [22] We conclude that substitution of gas for coal has had a relatively minor role in the emissions reduction of U.S. CO 2 emissions since 2007. [22] The CO 2 emissions and energy data from 2010 to 2013 were collected from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2. [22] Shearer C., Bistline J., Inman M. & Davis S. J. The effect of natural gas supply on U.S. renewable energy and CO 2 emissions. [22] According to Energy In Depth, lowering these emissions would only lower the global temperature by 0.0047 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, thus having essentially no impact on global temperatures, but increasing the cost of natural gas to consumers. [16] For all these reasons, further increases in the use of natural gas in the United States may not have a large effect on global greenhouse gas emissions and warming. [22] The CO 2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are the primary cause of anthropogenic climate change 1, and the United States emits more CO 2 each year than any other country except China. [22] Emissions fluctuate from year to year because recent warmer winters have prevented many residents from heating their homes as intensely in some parts of the country, lowering the energy demand, he said. [21]

While the deployment of renewable energy technologies has also increased substantially of late, burning natural gas instead of coal for electricity will likely continue to be the main contributor to emissions declines for years to come. [17] In the decade before 2007, U.S. CO 2 emissions grew by an average 0.7% per year. [22] The net effect has been very little change in emissions; between 2009 and 2013; U.S. emissions have decreased by an average of 0.2% per year. [22] As the U.S. economy had slowly recovered from the global economic recession, between 2009 and 2013, the average annual change in U.S. emissions was small: a 0.2% decrease. [22] We use input–output structural decomposition analysis (SDA) to assess sources of change in U.S. CO 2 emissions over a decade of mostly increasing emissions, 1997–2007, and then over the period of mostly decreasing emissions, 2007–2013. [22] For instance, between 2009 and 2011, when changes in domestic production structure exerted a downward influence on U.S. CO 2 emissions (−1%, blue bar in Fig. 3 ), we calculated that the net import of emissions embodied in U.S. trade increased by 32% ( Supplementary Fig. 3 ). [22] Contributions of different factors to changes in the U.S. CO 2 emissions between 1997 and 2013. [22] Using 1997 as base year, the solid black line shows the percentage change in total CO 2 emissions. [22] Our analysis focuses on U.S. fossil fuel CO 2 emissions and does not include emissions of non-CO 2 greenhouse gases such as methane. [22] The large decrease (9.9%) in U.S. CO 2 emissions between 2007 and 2009 was primarily the result of the economic recession, evidenced by large decreases in household consumption, energy-intensive capital expenditures and export ( Figs 1, ​,3 3 and ​ and4). 4 ). [22] Between 2009 and 2013, the share of U.S. consumption of manufactured goods increased relative to services ( Fig. 2b ), but the net effect of changes in consumption patterns was to decrease emissions (by 1.1% between 2009 and 2011 and by 0.2% between 2011 and 2013; green bars in Fig. 3 ). [22] More than half (53%) of the initial and most substantial decrease in emissions, between 2007 and 2009, was due to a sharp drop in the volume of consumed goods as a result of reduction in per capita consumption during the global economic recession ( Fig. 3, red bar). [22] Overall, 16 states saw decreases in emissions between 2012 and 2013, while 34 states released more carbon into the sky. [21] EPA. Carbon pollution emission guidelines for existing stationary sources: electric generating units. [22] The calculations presented in this paper also assume that biomass used by electricity generators, by industries, and by homes and commercial buildings is carbon neutral, with combustion emissions fully offset by land sinks in a sustainable biomass cycle. [35]

Between 2007 and 2013, emissions associated with household consumption decreased by 11.0%, which was almost entirely driven by changes in fuel mix and production structure, especially between 2009 and 2013, since consumption volume was constant ( Fig. 4a ). [22] Between 1997 and 2007, changes in energy intensity, consumption patterns, production structure and fuel mix contributed to retarding emissions of 7.4, 6.9, 4.9 and 3.6%, respectively ( Fig. 1, purple, green, blue and orange curves, respectively). [22] The other lines show the contribution to the change in emissions from consumption volume (red), population (yellow), consumption patterns (green), production structure (blue), energy intensity (purple) and fuel mix (orange). [22]

We further decompose the emission coefficients, k into emission intensity (emissions per unit of energy consumption) and energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of output) k fÊ, where f is a row vector of emissions per unit of energy use (fuel mix) and Ê is the diagonalized matrix of energy use per unit of economic output. [22] The recovering economy is now urging emissions backup, it is not clear whether decreases in energy intensity will continue, and the overall climate benefits of increased gas use are in question. [22] Although the decreases in emissions since 2009 have been relatively small, the influence of shale gas is visible. [22] In the U.S., the decoupling of emissions from economic growth was largely a result of the boom in domestic gas production thanks to hydraulic fracturing. [17] We find that before 2007, rising emissions were driven by economic growth: 71% of the increase between 1997 and 2007 was due to increases in U.S. consumption of goods and services, with the remainder of the increase due to population growth. [22] Despite continued economic growth, emissions in the U.S. are on a steady decline thanks in large part to cheap natural gas. [17] Future reductions in U.S. emissions will depend upon policies (for example, the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan) that can lock-in the recessionary emissions reductions and ensure continued decarbonization of the U.S. energy system by deployment of more efficient and low-carbon energy technologies 28. [22] Energy–climate policies may, therefore, be necessary to lock-in the recent emissions reductions and drive further decarbonization of the energy system as the U.S. economy recovers and grows. [22]

For data consistency, we scale the energy and CO 2 emission data from WIOD to match the EIA data. [22] EIA only publishes energy and emission data at aggregate sectoral level including manufacturing, electric power, commercial and residential sectors. [22] We convert the make-use table to symmetric input–output table following the method by Miller and Blair 48 and then aggregated them into 35 economic sectors to match the energy and emission data from the WIOD 37. [22]

Wier M. Sources of changes in emissions from energy: a structural decomposition analysis. [22] After 2007, decreasing emissions were largely a result of economic recession with changes in fuel mix (for example, substitution of natural gas for coal) playing a comparatively minor role. [22] CO 2 emissions are not the only consideration; a growing number of studies also show that increased leakage of methane from new natural gas infrastructure can offset CO 2 reductions relative to coal 22, 23. [22] Our analysis also focuses on CO 2 emissions produced in the United States; emissions embodied in imports from other countries are not included. [22] Fossil fuel CO 2 emissions in the United States decreased by ∼11% between 2007 and 2013, from 6,023 to 5,377 Mt. [22] Beginning in 2007, U.S. emissions decreased, reaching a minimum of 5,284 Mt CO 2 in 2012—12% lower than 2007 levels and 5% lower than 1997 levels 2. [22] U.S. CO 2 emissions stopped growing in 2007, and decreased by ∼11% between 2007 and 2013 ( Fig. 1, black curve). [22] Contributions of different factors to the decline in U.S. CO 2 emissions 2007–2009 and 2009–2011 and 2011–2013. [22] How to cite this article: Feng, K. et al. Drivers of the U.S. CO 2 emissions 1997–2013. [22] Guan D., Peters G. P., Weber C. L. & Hubacek K. Journey to world top emitter: an analysis of the driving forces of China’s recent CO 2 emissions surge. [22] Each additive term in equation (3) represents the contribution to a change in CO 2 emissions triggered by a factor assuming all other factors are constant. [22] Emissions associated with government expenditures in the same time period decreased by 4.8%, and it was largely driven by changes in energy intensity and production structure ( Fig. 4b ). [22] This result reveals that changes in the types of goods being consumed over time can have a significant impact on emissions 15, 16, and that it is not as simple as the balance of manufactured goods and services. [22] Each term in the decomposition is a product of the change in one explicative factor and the level values of the other five factors, and thus represents the contribution of one explicative factor to the total change in emission. [22] Our analysis quantifies the contribution of six different factors to changes in U.S. emissions. [22] Shifts in the production structure of the U.S. economy between 2007 and 2013 have consistently exerted a downward influence on U.S. emissions, as the volume and type of intermediate goods used by various industry sectors has evolved and become more efficient (blue bars in Fig. 3 ). [22] This also was the third consecutive year that emissions in the U.S. declined, though the fall was the smallest over the last three years. [34] Some states show dramatic increases in emissions in recent years. [21] The energy intensity of a state, as measured by the amount of energy consumed per unit of economic output or, specifically, British thermal units (Btu) per dollar of a state’s gross domestic product (GDP), plays an important role in its overall emissions profile (Table 6). [35] States exhibit very different emissions profiles by fuel type (Table 2). [35] To the extent that fuels are used in one state to generate electricity consumed in another state, emissions are attributed to the state in which electricity is generated and fuels are combusted. [35] Sales, revenue and prices, power plants, fuel use, stocks, generation, trade, demand & emissions. [35] Hawaii, where a dominant share of emissions is also from petroleum, had a residential share of 0.2% (0.03 million mt) and the lowest in the United States because of its minimal heating fuel requirements. [35] The next most important factor influencing CO 2 emissions over the same period was population growth. [22] This recent decline is good news and is consistent with the Obama administration’s stated goal of reducing CO 2 emissions by 17% in 2020 and 83% in 2050 relative to 2005 levels 3. [22] We also simplify the presented results by combining direct CO 2 emissions from households (for example, natural gas heating in homes) with the emissions embodied in consumed goods (that is, ‘consumption volume’). [22] Since 2005, methane emissions declined 79 percent from hydraulically fractured wells and between 2005 and 2013, they declined 38 percent from natural gas production overall. [16] EPA is planning to regulate methane emissions from natural gas production despite their huge reductions. [16] Further emissions reductions due to decreases in energy intensity are not inevitable. [22] The decrease in the energy intensity of the U.S. economy was nearly twice as strong an influence on emissions over the same period (purple bar in Fig. 3 ). [22] This is the ninth time in this century that the U.S. has had the largest decline in emissions in the world. [34] Looking at this time period in aggregate, the only factor which acted to increase emissions over the period was continued and steady population growth (+3.7%) ( Fig. 1, yellow curve). [22] Increases in such consumption volume correspond to a contribution of a 21.8% increase in emissions over this decade ( Fig. 1, red curve). [22] Not shown here, emissions increased by 1.7% between 2012 and 2013, driven primarily by increases in consumption volume. [22] Between 2011 and 2013, the upward influence of consumption volume and population on emissions was less (+1.2% and +1.2%, respectively) and the energy intensity of the economy decreased (−2.1%). [22] These factors raise Wyoming’s per capita emissions compared with other states. [35] The analysis does not attempt to assess the effect of state policies on absolute emissions levels, or on current and future trends, nor does it intend to imply that certain policies would be appropriate for a particular state. [35] Greenhouse gas data, voluntary reporting, electric power plant emissions. [35]

Carbon emissions from energy use from the U.S. are the lowest since 1992, the year that the UNFCCC came into existence. [34] And, for at least the 24th year in a row, the Lone Star State tops the list of the nation’s biggest carbon polluters, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration. [21] The 2015 U.S. average was 320 mt CO2/million dollars of GDP. The states with the lowest carbon intensity of economic activity are also states that appear on the lower end of both energy intensity and the carbon intensity of that energy supply. [35] The national average carbon intensity of the energy supply in 2015 was 55 kg CO2/MMBtu. [35] The carbon intensity of energy supply (CO2/Btu) reflects the energy fuel mix within a state (Table 7). [35] The states with lower carbon intensity of their energy supply tend to be those states with relatively substantial non-carbon electricity generation such as nuclear or hydropower. [35]

About 66% of the total energy derived in China comes from coal alone, and since coal is rich in carbon, burning it in China’s power and industrial plants and boilers releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. [18] As expected, the states with the highest carbon intensity of their economies (Table 8) as measured in metric tons (mt) of CO2 per million dollars of state GDP (mt CO2/million chained 2009 dollars of GDP) are also the states with the highest values of energy intensity and carbon intensity of that energy supply. [35] Another measure, the overall carbon intensity of the economy (CO2/dollar of state GDP), combines energy intensity with the carbon intensity of that state’s energy supply. [35]

Broken down per capita, Wyoming, the nation’s least-populous but one of its most geographically expansive and most fossil fuels-rich states, emits more carbon than any other state, followed by North Dakota, West Virginia, Alaska and Louisiana. [21] According to the most recent data from 2012 provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the top five countries that produce the most CO2 are China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan. [18] The method has been applied to many different countries such as Australia 39, Denmark 40, 41, India 42, Korea 43, Netherlands 44, the United States 45 and China 15, 35, 46, 47. [22]

Great Britain has also reduced its subsidies for solar power, and is considering an end to its carbon tax, because industry is now threatening to leave the country due to escalating energy costs. [16] A major British steel company indicated it was leaving the country due to expensive energy and carbon taxation, removing 40,000 jobs from the UK. [16]

The country is cutting subsidies and other market manipulations in order to protect consumers and industry from expensive energy bills, which were about 54 percent higher than U.S. energy bills in 2014. [16]

Coal mines are abundant in India, and coal is generally cheaper in the country than imported oil and gas. [18]

And, natural gas use for electric power generation continues to gain ground on coal, displacing it three times so far in 2015 as the leading fuel used in electric power plants. [21] Total state CO2 emissions include those from direct fuel use across all sectors, including residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation, as well as primary fuels consumed for electricity generation. [35] CO2 emissions also vary significantly by sector (Tables 3 and 4), based on factors such as the use of different fuels for electricity generation, different climates, and different sources of economic outputs (e.g., commercial versus industrial activity). [35]

Recent climate policies, such as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, aim to force states to cut their emissions from electric power plants running on fossil fuels, the nation’s largest source of carbon emissions. [21] Despite a slight uptick between 2012 and 2013, overall U.S. carbon emissions — including emissions from vehicle tailpipes, pipelines, and industrial and other sources — are down about 11 percent from their 2005 peak at 5.94 billion metric tons to 5.28 billion metric tons in 2013, according to EIA data. [21] Index decomposition analysis (IDA) and SDA are two decomposition methods that have been frequently used to calculate the contribution of different factors to the overall change in carbon emissions and energy consumption. [22] Chapter G2 Carbon emissions from land use and land-cover change, Biogeosciences, 9, 5125-514. [20] The largest increase in carbon emissions in 2017 came from China (1.6%), a reversal from the past three years when the largest increases in emissions came from India. [34] China has had the world?s largest increments in carbon emission every year this century except in four years – 2000 and between 2014-16. [34] “COTAP is an awesome organization and we use them to offset our entire company’s carbon emissions every year! They do great work and also help alleviate poverty, I couldn’t be more proud of them.” [23] Major fossil fuels-producing states also saw their carbon emissions climb in 2013. [21] Texas, the nation’s leading oil refiner and home to a shale oil and gas boom, saw a 4.5 percent jump in carbon emissions between 2012 and 2013 mainly because of the natural gas boom and gas pipeline construction, Lindstrom said. [21] Hanger J. Natural Gas is responsible for about 77% of carbon emission reductions in 2012. [22]

The 2015 CO2 emissions in Wyoming were 110 mt per capita, the highest in the United States. [35] From 2000 to 2015, CO2 emissions fell in 41 states and rose in 9 states (not including the District of Columbia) (Table 1). [35] The states that produce electricity from fossil fuels (especially coal) and sell that electricity across state lines tend to have higher per capita CO2 emissions than states that consume more electricity than they produce (Table 9). [35] Another useful way to compare total CO2 emissions across states is to divide them by state population and examine them on a per capita basis (Table 5 and Figure 2). [35] West Virginia (50 mt per capita), Alaska (49 mt per capita), and Louisiana (47 mt per capita) round out the top five states in terms of per capita CO2 emissions. [35] The second-highest state per capita CO2 emissions level was North Dakota at 75 mt per capita. [35]

Another large contributor to CO2 emissions in the U.S. is industry, which burns fossil fuels for energy. [18] Lim H. -J., Yoo S. -H. & Kwak S. -J. Industrial CO2 emissions from energy use in Korea: a structural decomposition analysis. [22] China is one of the largest importers of oil, which contributes to large CO2 emissions through the country’s use of motor vehicles. [18] The primary source of CO2 emissions in China is coal burning. [18] The largest source of CO2 emissions in the U.S. comes from power generation, transportation and industry. [18]

Hawaii’s and Vermont’s shares of CO2 emissions from petroleum in 2015 were 92% (17 million mt) and 89% (5 million mt), respectively. [35]

In 2015, Wyoming was the second-largest energy producer in the United States. [35] Washington State has always relied heavily on hydropower generation and has added wind capacity to its generation mix, which helped during the relatively low precipitation year in 2015. [35] Illinois increased its nuclear output from existing nuclear capacity while adding wind capacity and in 2015, the state produced 108 billion kWh from non-carbon generation sources. [35]

When combining emissions from fossil fuels, industry, and land use change, the global economy released another 41 billion tonnes to the atmosphere in 2015, and will add roughly the same amount again this year. [27] Global CO? emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and industry (including cement production) were 36.3 billion tonnes in 2015, the same as in 2014, and are projected to rise by only 0.2% in 2016 to reach 36.4 billion tonnes. [27]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(35 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)

1. (81) Drivers of the US CO2 emissions 1997-2013

2. (78) CO? and other Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Our World in Data

3. (37) Analysis: Global CO2 emissions set to rise 2% in 2017 after three-year “plateau? | Carbon Brief

4. (36) State-Level Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2000-2012

5. (31) Analysis: What global CO2 emissions in 2016 mean for climate change goals

6. (27) Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data | Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions | US EPA

7. (24) The U.S. Leads All Countries In Lowering Carbon Dioxide Emissions

8. (20) U.S. Outshines Other Countries in CO2 Emissions Reductions – IER

9. (20) 6 Graphs Explain the World?s Top 10 Emitters | World Resources Institute

10. (20) The History of Carbon Dioxide Emissions | World Resources Institute

11. (19) This Interactive Chart Explains World?s Top 10 Emitters, and How They?ve Changed | World Resources Institute

12. (15) Which emits more carbon dioxide: volcanoes or human activities? | NOAA

13. (15) Texas, California Lead Nation in Carbon Emissions | Climate Central

14. (12) The 5 Countries That Produce the Most Carbon Dioxide (CO2) | Investopedia

15. (12) The U.S. Is the Biggest Carbon Polluter in History. It Just Walked Away From the Paris Climate Deal. – The New York Times

16. (11) Global CO2 Emissions Decline in 2015 After Soaring for a Decade, Study Says | InsideClimate News

17. (11) Global CO2 Emissions

18. (10) List of countries by carbon dioxide emissions – Wikipedia

19. (9) • CO2 emissions by country 2016 | Statista

20. (8) Global Emissions — Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

21. (7) INTERACTIVE: How Much Carbon Do Countries Emit? | Department of Energy

22. (6) Carbon dioxide emissions by country over time: The worst global warming polluters (MAP).

23. (6) Carbon Dioxide Emissions Keep Falling in the U.S. – MIT Technology Review

24. (6) CO2 emissions | Statistical Review of World Energy | Energy economics | BP

25. (6) World carbon dioxide emissions data by country: China speeds ahead of the rest | Environment |

26. (5) Each Country’s Share of CO2 Emissions | Union of Concerned Scientists

27. (5) Fossil fuel emissions have stalled: Global Carbon Budget 2016

28. (5) How Do U.S. Carbon Emissions Rank Internationally? | Smart News | Smithsonian

29. (4) These 6 Countries Are Responsible For 60% Of CO2 Emissions – Business Insider

30. (3) Emissions

31. (2) Per Capita Carbon Emissions Data By Country – – Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty

32. (2) Global CO2 emissions stall despite economic growth: IEA (Update)

33. (2) Global CO2 Emissions Rise after Paris Climate Agreement Signed – Scientific American

34. (2) 5 Countries With the Highest Carbon Emissions — The Motley Fool

35. (1) Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Hit a New Record – Bloomberg