Carbon dioxide emissions by country
Whether global warming is a man-made phenomenon or a natural cycle of temperature fluctuation may be a debate that is impossible to prove. However, there is one fact that can be taken for granted which has been linked greatly to anomalies in surface temperature: In recent years, there has been a tremendous surge in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. These atmospheric carbon dioxide rises are believed to be the result of the earth’s industrialization, which began in the second half of the 18th century and is still ongoing in the many emerging markets around the globe. In a pre-industrialized society, the causes of carbon dioxide emissions consisted of non-energy related sources like rocks, animals (including humans) and geological hot spots such as volcanoes and geysers. In 1751, the first year where data is available, some 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide was produced worldwide. In the 1960s, the level of CO2 was around 1,000 times higher than in 1751. In 2017, some 36.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide was emitted globally.
In 2016, the largest per capita CO2 producers included the United States and OPEC members, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Russia, India and China were all ranked among the five largest emitters, with China taking the top spot. Fifth-ranked United States was also listed as one of the biggest carbon dioxide emitters worldwide in per capita terms in that year.
All things equal, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that worldwide energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will increase 46 percent by 2040. Today, there are a number of measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. These measures include reforestation, the introduction of a price for carbon, a reduction of livestock and a decreased use of fossil fuels in energy generation. In order to save CO2 emissions, the United States, China, India and Brazil have started to add renewable sources to the energy mix. In 2017, the share of renewables in U.S. energy consumption rose to about 20 percent. The country is also counted among the key producers of wind and solar energy.