Each Country's Share of CO2 Emissions

Published Jul 16, 2008 Updated May 11, 2020

A pie chart showing each County's Share of CO2 Emissions. The three largest values on the chart are China with 28%, "Rest of the world" with 22% and United States with 14%.

The world’s countries emit vastly different amounts of heat-trapping  gases into the atmosphere. The chart above and table below both show data compiled by the International Energy Agency, which estimates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the combustion of coal, natural gas, oil, and other fuels, including industrial waste and non-renewable municipal waste. 

Here we rank the top 20 highest emitters of cumulative carbon dioxide in 2017 (the most recent available data).

The 20 countries that emitted the most carbon dioxide in 2017

Rank Country CO2 emissions (total)
1 China 9.3GT
2 United States 4.8GT
3 India 2.2GT
4 Russian Federation 1.5GT
5 Japan 1.1GT
6 Germany 0.7GT
7 South Korea 0.6GT
8 Islamic Republic of Iran 0.6GT
9 Canada 0.5GT
10 Saudi Arabia 0.5GT
11 Indonesia 0.5GT
12 Mexico 0.4GT
13 Brazil 0.4GT
14 South Africa 0.4GT
15 Australia 0.4GT
16 United Kingdom 0.4GT
17 Turkey 0.4GT
18 Italy 0.3GT
19 Poland 0.3GT
20 France 0.3GT
All emissions from 2017. Fuel combustion only. GT = Metric gigatons

The rankings change when we account for the population of each country (ie, per capita emissions).

2017 rankings by per capita emissions

Rank Country CO2 emissions (per capita)
1 Saudi Arabia 16.1T
2 Australia 15.6T
3 Canada 14.9T
4 United States 14.6T
5 South Korea 11.7T
6 Russian Federation 10.6T
7 Japan 8.9T
8 Germany 8.7T
9 Poland 8.1T
10 South Africa 7.4T
11 Islamic Republic of Iran 7.0T
12 China 6.5T
13 United Kingdom 5.4T
14 Italy 5.3T
15 France 4.7T
16 Turkey 4.7T
17 Mexico 3.6T
18 Brazil 2.1T
19 Indonesia 1.9T
20 India 1.6T
All emissions from 2017. Fuel combustion only. T = Metric tons

The picture that emerges from these figures is one where—in general—developed countries and major emerging economy nations lead in total carbon dioxide emissions.

However, developed nations typically have high carbon dioxide emissions per capita, while some developing countries lead in the growth rate of carbon dioxide emissions. These uneven contributions to the climate crisis are at the core of the challenges the world community faces in finding effective and equitable solutions to global warming.

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