Global historical CO2 emissions 1758-2018

The carbon dioxide emissions released by global fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes have seen a dramatic spike in usage. Most recently in 2018, the world saw about 36.57 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Carbon dioxide is a colorless, naturally occurring gas that is released after people and animals inhale oxygen. It is a greenhouse gas, meaning it absorbs and releases thermal radiation which in turn creates the “greenhouse effect”. In addition to other greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide also is a major contributor to the ability of the Earth to maintain a habitable temperature. Without carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, Earth would be too cold to live on. However, while carbon dioxide alone is not a harmful gas, the abundance of it is what causes climate change. The increased use of electricity, transportation, and deforestation in human society, have resulted in the increased emission of carbon dioxide, which in turn raises the earth’s temperature and contributes to climate change.

CO2 in the United States

Between coal, liquids, and natural gas, liquid fuel is expected to be one of the largest contributors of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. In 2017, China emitted the highest amounts of carbon dioxide in the world, followed by the United States. The sector that emitted the most carbon dioxide in the United States that year was the transportation sector. The carbon dioxide market size in the United States is projected to continue to steadily increase.

Historical carbon dioxide emissions from global fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes from 1758 to 2018 (in million metric tons)*

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

1758 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* Original data have been converted from million metric tons of carbon to units of carbon dioxide by multiplying by 3.664.

The values have been rounded.

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