Global carbon dioxide emissions by sector 2017

The energy and heat production sector is responsible for much of the worlds carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In 2017, this sector emitted approximately 13.6 billion metric tons of CO2. This was almost the combined total produced by both the transport and manufacturing sectors.

Fossil fuel combustion

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion have increased significantly over the past century as the world’s demand for energy continues to grow at a rapid pace. Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel and the most used source for electricity generation around the world. CO2 emissions from coal, natural gas, and oil are all expected to increase in the coming decades.

Biggest polluters

It is no surprise that the most polluting companies are within the energy sector. Between 1965 and 2018, 20 fossil fuel firms were responsible for producing approximately 480 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent. This equates to around a third of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions released during this time. Many of the biggest polluters in the EU are coal-fired power stations, such as the Bełchatów power station in Poland. However, the majority are located within Germany where coal is still a hugely important source of energy.

World CO2 emissions in 2017, by sector (in million metric tons of carbon dioxide)*

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* World includes international bunkers in the transport sector
** Includes emissions from own use in petroleum refining, the manufacture of solid fuels, coal mining, oil and gas extraction and other energy-producing industries.
*** In the original table, the category 'other sector' also includes residential sector figures. These figures have been subtracted.

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Statistics on "Energy production in the U.S."

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