CO2 Emissions by Country – 1850/2020

COP26 is currently being held in Glasgow, UK. Cop26 is the UN climate change conference in 2021. Among the many topics to be discussed is CO2 emissions. According to a recent study by the Global Carbon Project consortium, C02 emissions have returned to 2019 levels. In today’s article we will find out which are the main countries in the world by C02 consumption. We will do this by first looking at the data of c02 consumption per country per person and then going on to analyse the global data. CO2 Emissions by Country.

CO2 Emissions by Country – 2020

Due to the pandemic, 2020 was certainly a special year. In some countries, production basically stopped for a few months. It is therefore normal that CO2 emissions per country tended to fall. But which nations emitted the most CO2 per person in 2020? In first place – in the video I only consider nations with a population of over 50,000 – are Qatar, New Caledonia and Mongolia. Qatar has a value of 37 tonnes of C02 emitted per inhabitant. This puts it firmly in first place globally. Qatar’s population was estimated at 2.8 million in 2020. In second place is New Caledonia with an estimated 30 tonnes of CO2 per person per year, although its population of less than 300,000 has to be taken into account. In third place is Mongolia. Mongolia’s CO2 emissions per capita are almost 27 tonnes per year. The top 15 countries also include economic powerhouses Australia, the United States and Canada. In particular, the United States has a value of 14.24 tonnes per person of CO2 emitted in 2020. The United States has a population of 329.5 million inhabitants (according to data from the World Band).

CO2 Emissions per Country – 1850

If we move the hands of time back to 1850, a few industrial revolutions before today, what was the situation like? At the top of the list of nations emitting the most CO2 per person was Britain, the country currently hosting COP26. The United Kingdom was one of the first, if not the first, nation where the industrial revolution took place. That’s why the 1850 figure shows that the UK emitted 4.5 tonnes per person. This is more than twice as much as the second largest nation in the world, Belgium, in 1850. Of the first nations, almost all were in Europe or America.

Cumulative CO₂ emissions

If we look at the global data and count the cumulative CO2 emissions, the data over time is very interesting. First of all, the graph shows that CO2 emissions have increased dramatically since 1900. This rise has continued, especially since the Second World War and since some countries, such as China and India, began to develop strong economies.

Total emissions from 1750 to 2020 reached 1.70 trillion tonnes in 2020. In 1950, the figure was 230.32 billion tonnes and more than half of the cumulative emissions came from the US and UK. Only 70 years later, in 2020, the US remains in first place with 416.72 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions (cumulative over time) but China comes second with 235.56 billion tonnes. The UK is tripled by China.

Source and links

To create this content I used the data available on Our World in Data, which in turn uses various databases.

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