Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide
Some of the Middle East’s largest oil producing countries, including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are among the world’s largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters. Per capita, the countries were responsible for 30.8, 20.7, and 16.3 metric tons of CO2 emissions per capita, respectively. Other developed countries such as the United States and South Korea also show disproportionately high levels of emission. Despite a relatively low population for its size, Canada’s CO2 emissions have recently reached some 563 million metric tons in 2016, and Canada is considered one of the largest emitters per capita in the world.
Globally, carbon dioxide emissions have skyrocketed in the last two centuries from about 40 million metric tons in 1811 to 36.2 billion metric tons in 2016. Natural greenhouse gas emissions, from sources like volcanoes, are common; however, since the Industrial Revolution began in about 1750, anthropogenic emissions have skyrocketed. Prior to this period, carbon dioxide in the environment remained in balance through atmospheric, aquatic, and terrestrial exchanges. Under increased pressures from human-induced emissions, CO2 and other emissions have added to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Sulphur oxide emissions in the United States totaled almost 2.5 million metric tons in 2016. Sulphur dioxides and nitrogen oxides are the main causes of acid rain, which can cause acidification of volatile ecosystems.