Looking at countries which grew their per capita emissions most between 1990 and 2017, countries on the Arabian Peninsula come out on top, but countries in Asia are most commonly found among the worst offenders. This is according to the European Commission Emission Database, where new figures were released ahead of climate change conference COP25 taking place in Madrid from Dec 2 to Dec 13.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait have some of the highest per-capita CO² emissions in the world and also some of the highest growth rates due to how cheaply oil and gas are available there. South Korea came in fourth on the list and was the highest-ranked Asian country. This somewhat surprising result can be explained by the importance manufacturing continues to hold in the country’s economy as well as the widespread burning of waste for energy. China’s emissions, which flatlined in the years leading up to 2017, took a jump up in 2018, an instance not shown in the ranking.
The chart lists major countries with 2 million inhabitants or more. Omitted are many small island nations, among them Iceland, where per capita emissions grew by more than 3 tons between 1990 and 2017. While the country is known to use almost 100 percent renewable energy for heating and electricity generation, the rapid growth of international flights and car rentals catering to tourists are to blame for the increase.