Biggest polluters in the world by CO2 emissions per capita

(September 6, 2016)

The growing world energy consumption raises serious environmental concerns. The use of fossil fuels increases the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere contributing to global warming and climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) has the largest share among the greenhouse gases. So let us see which are the world largest per capita CO2 emitters?

The chart lists the top 20 countries in terms of carbon emissions per capita based on the latest data from the World Bank. The emissions are measured in metric tons. The indicator includes carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement manufacturing but excludes emissions from land use such as deforestation.

Carbon dioxide emissions per capita vary significantly across the world from 0.02 to 44 metric tons per capita. The structure of the economy, the population, the energy sources, the climate, and the policies to reduce CO2 emission are among the many factors that lead to the cross-country variation.

As you can see from the chart, all countries in the top 20 list have CO2 emissions above 11 metric tons per capita. Qatar tops the ranking with 44 metric tons of CO2 emissions per capita followed by Trinidad & Tobago and Kuwait with 37 and 28 metrics tons respectively. At first glance, the top 20 countries seem disparate but in fact 17 out of the 20 countries have a high level of income. As can be expected, the countries also have a very high energy use per capita which consequently causes the large CO2 emissions.

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