25 Countries That Produce the Most CO2 Emissions

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Despite long-standing warnings of a climate emergency as well as efforts by some nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the worldwide use of fossil fuels — and with it global greenhouse gas emissions — grew last year.

A number of potential disaster scenarios caused by climate change remain well documented. And yet, increasing demand for coal, oil, and natural gas drove the increase in GHG emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

To determine the countries emitting the most CO2, 24/7 Wall St. ranked countries based on territorial emissions — millions of metric tons of carbon emitted from fossil fuels and cement production within a country’s borders — in 2017 published by the Global Carbon Project 2018. This report and our analysis focuses only on fossil fuel-generated CO2 emissions, the single most important greenhouse gas and by far the largest contributor to anthropogenic warming.

Cement, in particular, and natural resources extraction and processing in general, contribute massively to CO2 emissions. A recent report found that the majority of carbon emissions are created by such processes, even before any fuel is burned.

Resource extraction has more than tripled since 1970 and continues to accelerate, even though the population has only doubled in that time, according to the United Nations’ Global Resources Outlook 2019. Perhaps it is no surprise that the countries emitting the most CO2 are also often among the countries that control the world’s oil.