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Carbon dioxide emissions per person in the U.S. 2019-2050

Per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States reached an estimate of 15.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019. The United States has forecast that a decrease in CO2 emissions will occur through 2050, reaching 12.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per person. This forecast is driven by increasing consumption of natural gas due to lower cost and emissions with higher efficiency. Increased use of natural gas is expected to parallel the decline of coal, which has higher emissions and lower efficiency.

Is it possible to decouple emissions from growth?

Globally, carbon dioxide emissions have increased over the last few decades. China and the United States have been two of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in recent years. The ability of these major emitting countries to decouple their greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth. Annual global emissions stabilized from 2014 to 2016 but rose again in 2017. Shifting to a carbon free economy is technologically feasible because some of the most emission intensive sectors are only a minor part of the economy. Deployment of renewable technologies has rapidly decreased in cost and low-carbon technologies are continuously infiltrating global industries.

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions per capita from 2019 to 2050

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The figures for 2020 through 2050 are estimates; according to the source, forecasts are based on a business-as-usual trend estimate, given known technology and technological and demographic trends.

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