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Valeria Melissa Nava Aldaco

What are the 5 countries that produce the most CO2 worldwide?

- In 2021, 36.3 billion tons of CO2 were produced worldwide, however, only 5 countries are responsible for more than half of these emissions.

What are the 5 countries that produce the most CO2 worldwide?

According to the International Energy Agency or IEA, and the BP (formerly British Petroleum) report entitled Statistical Review of World Energy, for Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions measured in millions of tons by carbon dioxide (MtCO2), the most polluting countries in the world are the People's Republic of China, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, Japan and India.

This is how BP's 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy report indicates that these five countries concentrate 59.4% of the world's total CO2 emissions, as can be seen in the following table.

< td>9,466.4< td>1,567.0
Country2010201120122013201420152016201720182019 2020Global share
United States5,495.05,348.45,101.55,268.35,277.6< /td>5,165.65,060.85,003.25,166.05,029.44,457.2 13.8%
India1,652.11730.01,844.51,930.22,083.82,151.92,243.22,324.72,449.4 2,471.92,302.37.1%
Russia1,526.61,591.11,605.01,581.11,579.21,549.51,548.61,606.01,595.71,482.24.6 %
Japan1,197.91,206.11,292.11,279.81,246.51,207.11,190.01,181.41,158.41,117.7 1,027.03.2%
          ;   < /strong>Total59.4%

Source: Own elaboration with data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021; IEA, 2020.

From the information in the table, it can be seen that, over ten years, the increase in CO2 has been progressive, and although a reduction was achieved in the last year, the total proportions of CO2 in these five countries concentrate more than half of the world's emissions.

Faced with this, in the last edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, resulted in the Glasgow Climate Pact, which, addressing concerns regarding the planet's temperature, prioritizes that countries meet the goal of maintaining 1.5 °C, as well as finalizing the pending elements of the Paris agreement (UKCOP26, 2021).

The Glasgow Climate Pact will accelerate the pace of climate action. All countries agreed to review and strengthen their nationally determined emissions targets (NDCs) in 2022, along with an annual policy roundtable to consider a global progress report and a leaders' summit in 2023.

In order to achieve what is proposed in the Glasgow Climate Pact, it was agreed that each country would update its commitments in its NDC (or nationally determined emission targets), which is a document that each country submits to the UNFCCC, which stipulates commitment to reduce emissions. For this analysis, it is important to take into account the goals of each of the five largest CO2 emitters worldwide, to get an idea of the real scope that these goals have.


Beijing “has implemented policies to curb emissions and stop further degradation, such as signing the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and committing to be carbon neutral by 2060” (Maizland, 2021). Although, despite its Action Plan, China continues to be the main CO2 emitting country, and according to Maizland (2021) also the largest coal producer in the world, with growing urbanization.


The situation in the United States is unique, marked consequently by the environmental regulations revoked in the Trump Administration, including the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement (Davenport, 2020). Now, with the Joe Biden Administration, in the country's new NDC updated in the UNFCCC (2021) "The United States establishes to reduce its net emissions of greenhouse gases by 50-52% below 2005 levels to 2030”.


The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) provides a sharper focus on required interventions (UNFCCC, 2021). This is accompanied by a voluntary target to reduce the emissions intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 20-25%, above 2005 levels, by 2020, along with a series of policy measures to achieve this target. In the Climate Transparency Report (2021), the objective of this country is to reduce the intensity of GDP emissions by 33-35% above 2005 levels.

When talking about reducing emissions from its GDP, reference is made to the formula known as Kaya's Identity, which is a mathematical formula whose measurement takes the determinants of Population, Energy and GDP to represent energy intensity (Garrett, 2022).


Its NDC consists of limiting greenhouse gas emissions, which foresees a reduction by 2030 to 70% in relation to the 1990 level, taking into account the maximum possible absorption capacity of forests and other ecosystems and subject to sustainability. and socio-economic development of the Russian Federation (UNFCCC, 2021).


The country of Japan, according to its NDC, has as its objective (UNFCCC, 2021):

Reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent in fiscal year 2030 from fiscal year 2013 levels, setting an ambitious goal that is aligned with the long-term goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Regarding the commitments made in the NDCs, in the Climate Transparency Report (2021), which includes an analysis of the mitigation and adaptation strategies of each of the countries, they extend their concern that the five countries mentioned in this analysis do not They are aligned with the goal of achieving a global temperature of 1.5 °C, which, despite the fact that each one has fixed goals for reducing emissions, investing in clean energy, and other measures, would not be enough to prevent the increase in temperature.

Finally, Buis (2019) emphasizes that a temperature greater than 1.5 °C would bring extreme heat waves, would increase the probability of drought and the risks related to the availability of water in some regions, as well as impacts on biodiversity and the ecosystems, among others. This means that, even though the International Climate Summits are gaining more relevance and weight day by day, especially for the new generations, world leaders continue without making more ambitious commitments, namely that the decisions taken today will have tangible repercussions. in the years to come.


    BP. (2021) Statistical Review of World Energy. Carbon Dioxide Emissions. P. 15 Recuperado de:

    Buis, A. (2019) A Degree of Concern: Why Global Temperatures Matter. NASA’s Global Climate Change Website. Recuperado de:

    Climate Transparency (2021). The Climate Transparency Report. Country Profiles. Recuperado de:

    Davenport, C. (2020) What Will Trump’s Most Profound Legacy Be? Possibly Climate Damage. The New York Times. Recuperado de:

    Garrett, C. (2022) Identidad de Kaya: definición, retos y soluciones para el clima. Climate Consluting by Selectra. Recuperado de:,eficiencia%20energ%C3%A9tica%20de%20nuestra%20producci%C3%B3n.

    IEA. (2020) Atlas of Energy. Recuperado de:!/tellmap/1378539487

    Maizland, L. (2021) China’s Fight Against Climate Change and Environmental Degradation. Recuperado de:

    UKCOP26. (2021) UK Presidency Priorities 2022. Recuperado de: presidency/priorities/

    UNFCCC. (2021) NDC Registry.

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Nava, Valeria. “¿Cuáles son los 5 países que producen más CO2 a nivel mundial?.” CEMERI, 9 sept. 2022,