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Global historical CO2 emissions 1758-2020

The carbon dioxide emissions released by global fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes have seen a dramatic rise since the birth of the industrial revolution. Most recently in 2019, the world saw roughly 36.44 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted. However, projections for 2020 show a noticeable reduction in emissions due to the impacts of COVID-19.

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 is also 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. This in turn has seen a rise in earth’s temperature.

Fossil fuel emissions

Coal, liquids, and natural gas are set to continue being major sources of emissions in the coming decades. Of these fossil fuels, coal is the most polluting., and a main reason why China emits the highest amounts of carbon dioxide in the world.

Historical carbon dioxide emissions from global fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes from 1758 to 2020*

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Release date

December 2020



Survey time period

1758 to 2020

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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Statistics on "Global pollution "

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