Each Country's Share of CO2 Emissions

Published Jul 16, 2008 Updated Aug 12, 2020

A pie chart showing emissions per country by percentage, 2018

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 annual carbon dioxide in 2018 (the most recent available data).

The 20 countries that emitted the most carbon dioxide in 2018

Rank Country CO2 emissions (total)
1 China 10.06GT
2 United States 5.41GT
3 India 2.65GT
4 Russian Federation 1.71GT
5 Japan 1.16GT
6 Germany 0.75GT
7 Islamic Republic of Iran 0.72GT
8 South Korea 0.65GT
9 Saudi Arabia 0.62GT
10 Indonesia 0.61GT
11 Canada 0.56GT
12 Mexico 0.47GT
13 South Africa 0.46GT
14 Brazil 0.45GT
15 Turkey 0.42GT
16 Australia 0.42GT
17 United Kingdom 0.37GT
18 Poland 0.34GT
19 France 0.33GT
20 Italy 0.33GT
21 Kazakhstan 0.32GT
All emissions from 2018. Fuel combustion only. GT = Metric gigatons

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

2018 rankings by per capita emissions

Rank Country CO2 emissions (total)
1 Saudi Arabia 18.48T
2 Kazakhstan 17.60T
3 Australia 16.92T
4 United States 16.56T
5 Canada 15.32T
6 South Korea 12.89T
7 Russian Federation 11.74T
8 Japan 9.13T
9 Germany 9.12T
10 Poland 9.08T
11 Islamic Republic of Iran 8.82T
12 South Africa 8.12T
13 China 7.05T
14 United Kingdom 5.62T
15 Italy 5.56T
16 Turkey 5.21T
17 France 5.19T
18 Mexico 3.77T
19 Indonesia 2.30T
20 Brazil 2.19T
21 India 1.96T
All emissions from 2018. 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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