Industrial chimney
Climate change

Climate change

Global CO₂ emissions

Where do we measure the highest CO₂ emissions per capita? What are the overall CO₂ emissions in the different countries? Just click on our interactive world map to see the CO₂ emissions of each country.

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is the most common greenhouse gas. It occurs naturally in the air and is produced, among other things, by combustion of wood, coal, oil or gas, but also during other industrial processes such as cement production.

Since the industrial revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been on the rise. As a result, the global increase in CO₂ has more than tripled since the middle of the 20th century. And, because CO₂ absorbs and reflects back some of the heat the earth releases into space, it contributes more and more to global warming as concentrations increase. This greenhouse effect is primarily responsible for man-made climate change.

As a result, CO₂ is the focus of public interest. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was ratified by the majority of the members of the United Nations. It thus became the first treaty to set internationally binding targets for reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases. The Paris Agreement reinforced commitment to these targets in 2015. The signatories agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This target can only be reached if the greenhouse gas emissions are gradually reduced.

The interactive map shows three values per country: total CO₂ emissions (in kilotonnes), changes in total emissions between 1990 and 2015 as well as CO₂ emissions per capita (in tonnes). The calculation includes CO₂ emitted from, e.g. cement production, the extraction of carbonates from limestone and dolomites, non-energy-related use and other uses of fuels, chemical and metallic production processes, agricultural liming and liquid slurry as well as the incineration of waste and other fossil fuels. It did not include the incineration of agricultural waste, forest fires and emissions released from land use, land-use change and forestry. The data comes from the EDGAR database (Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research) of the European Commission.

CO₂ emissions per capita

4,9 t

in tons; 2015

Sources: European Commission, own calculations; Data refer to emissions from fossil fuels and cement production

Published on KfW Stories: Tuesday, 10 October 2017