CO₂ emissions from combustion in power plants

Greenhouse gases emissions by country

The release of carbon dioxide (CO₂) and methane (CH₄) are the main causes of the greenhouse effect. Due to increasing industrialization, greenhouse gases are being released uncontrollably in many countries. The human being is the biggest factor disturbing the balance of the earth.

The following table shows the largest producers of carbon dioxide and methane The USA ranks twelth in terms of per capita consumption in the list of 104 countries. Here alone, each inhabitant produces 14.52 tons of CO₂ and 2.2 tons of methane.

Ranking of countries by greenhouse gas emissions

The country ranking covers 104 countries and their emissions of CO₂ and methane. Click on the country name to get more information about the energy balance of the respective country.

It is striking that among the largest polluters — in terms of emissions per inhabitant — are wealthy countries of the Near East. The proportion per inhabitant is particularly high here, as large quantities of greenhouse gases are released in the extraction of natural gas and crude oil, as well as in operating refineries. You can read how temperatures have changed worldwide in recent decades in our analysis of temperature increases by continent.

    CO₂   Methane
(in CO₂ equivalents)
(in CO₂ equivalents)
Country Totalper capita Totalper capita Totalper capita
Qatar91.97 m t34.21 t21.45 m t7.98 t113.42 m t42.19 t
Bahrain33.26 m t22.73 t17.41 m t11.90 t50.67 m t34.63 t
Kuwait92.65 m t21.80 t24.71 m t5.81 t117.36 m t27.61 t
United Arab Emirates188.86 m t20.17 t49.80 m t5.32 t238.66 m t25.48 t
Turkmenistan72.87 m t11.49 t80.48 m t12.69 t153.35 m t24.18 t
Oman76.03 m t16.82 t20.24 m t4.48 t96.27 m t21.30 t
New Caledonia *5.33 m t19.66 t214,726.32 t0.79 t5.54 m t20.45 t
Australia386.53 m t15.05 t126.07 m t4.91 t512.60 m t19.95 t
Brunei6.99 m t15.69 t1.59 m t3.57 t8.58 m t19.26 t
Canada580.21 m t15.17 t101.70 m t2.66 t681.91 m t17.83 t
Saudi Arabia523.78 m t14.57 t110.25 m t3.07 t634.03 m t17.64 t
United States4.82 bn t14.52 t744.51 m t2.24 t5.56 bn t16.76 t
Russia1.70 bn t11.88 t684.30 m t4.77 t2.39 bn t16.65 t
Luxembourg9.49 m t14.83 t560,000.00 t0.87 t10.05 m t15.70 t
Kazakhstan212.11 m t11.16 t48.89 m t2.57 t261.00 m t13.74 t
New Zealand34.01 m t6.64 t32.52 m t6.35 t66.53 m t12.99 t
Mongolia23.07 m t6.89 t18.79 m t5.61 t41.86 m t12.50 t
South Korea610.79 m t11.80 t22.70 m t0.44 t633.49 m t12.24 t
Czechia96.29 m t9.17 t12.44 m t1.18 t108.73 m t10.35 t
Ireland35.75 m t7.10 t15.46 m t3.07 t51.21 m t10.17 t
Bermuda *612,389.00 t9.59 t30,959.96 t0.48 t643,348.96 t10.07 t
Iran630.01 m t7.17 t213.68 m t2.43 t843.69 m t9.60 t
Singapore47.38 m t8.69 t4.25 m t0.78 t51.63 m t9.47 t
Netherlands146.34 m t8.35 t15.54 m t0.89 t161.88 m t9.23 t
Japan1.08 bn t8.61 t27.38 m t0.22 t1.11 bn t8.82 t
South Africa439.64 m t7.40 t80.13 m t1.35 t519.77 m t8.75 t
Belgium93.01 m t8.02 t8.08 m t0.70 t101.09 m t8.72 t
Malaysia253.27 m t7.54 t36.81 m t1.10 t290.08 m t8.64 t
Poland295.13 m t7.82 t29.00 m t0.77 t324.13 m t8.59 t
Germany657.40 m t7.90 t48.71 m t0.59 t706.11 m t8.49 t
Estonia10.18 m t7.65 t1.11 m t0.83 t11.29 m t8.48 t
Cayman Islands *546,383.00 t8.02 t28,722.79 t0.42 t575,105.79 t8.44 t
China10.71 bn t7.58 t1.18 bn t0.83 t11.88 bn t8.41 t
Serbia45.95 m t6.72 t11.54 m t1.69 t57.49 m t8.41 t
Venezuela112.34 m t3.98 t119.24 m t4.23 t231.58 m t8.21 t
Finland40.71 m t7.35 t4.64 m t0.84 t45.35 m t8.18 t
Austria64.77 m t7.23 t6.92 m t0.77 t71.69 m t8.00 t
Israel62.65 m t6.69 t9.74 m t1.04 t72.39 m t7.73 t
Bahamas2.84 m t6.96 t220,000.00 t0.54 t3.06 m t7.50 t
Norway35.95 m t6.65 t4.54 m t0.84 t40.49 m t7.49 t
Iraq174.56 m t4.01 t134.69 m t3.09 t309.25 m t7.10 t
Bulgaria39.14 m t5.69 t6.84 m t0.99 t45.98 m t6.69 t
Greece60.00 m t5.64 t9.34 m t0.88 t69.34 m t6.52 t
Argentina168.10 m t3.67 t128.80 m t2.81 t296.90 m t6.48 t
Denmark29.70 m t5.07 t7.78 m t1.33 t37.48 m t6.40 t
Hong Kong *43.64 m t5.89 t3.15 m t0.42 t46.79 m t6.31 t
Italy317.24 m t5.37 t44.35 m t0.75 t361.59 m t6.12 t
Algeria171.25 m t3.88 t92.34 m t2.09 t263.59 m t5.97 t
United Kingdom348.92 m t5.18 t50.11 m t0.74 t399.03 m t5.93 t
Spain239.98 m t5.06 t39.28 m t0.83 t279.26 m t5.89 t
Iceland1.64 m t4.40 t529,999.97 t1.42 t2.17 m t5.83 t
Hungary46.38 m t4.78 t7.00 m t0.72 t53.38 m t5.50 t
Montenegro2.60 m t4.20 t779,999.97 t1.26 t3.38 m t5.46 t
Portugal44.64 m t4.32 t11.35 m t1.10 t55.99 m t5.42 t
France300.52 m t4.44 t59.66 m t0.88 t360.18 m t5.32 t
Chile91.37 m t4.69 t11.59 m t0.59 t102.96 m t5.28 t
Turkey396.84 m t4.68 t48.52 m t0.57 t445.36 m t5.25 t
Croatia16.52 m t4.24 t3.68 m t0.94 t20.20 m t5.18 t
Switzerland37.38 m t4.29 t5.04 m t0.58 t42.42 m t4.87 t
Mauritius4.17 m t3.29 t1.95 m t1.54 t6.12 m t4.83 t
Romania73.95 m t3.87 t16.76 m t0.88 t90.71 m t4.74 t
Ukraine174.73 m t3.99 t32.68 m t0.75 t207.41 m t4.74 t
Thailand267.09 m t3.73 t70.19 m t0.98 t337.28 m t4.71 t
Mexico449.27 m t3.55 t138.80 m t1.10 t588.07 m t4.64 t
Vietnam336.49 m t3.45 t80.48 m t0.83 t416.97 m t4.28 t
Timor-Leste620,000.00 t0.47 t5.01 m t3.79 t5.63 m t4.26 t
Bolivia22.34 m t1.85 t28.36 m t2.35 t50.70 m t4.20 t
Georgia10.11 m t2.73 t5.19 m t1.40 t15.30 m t4.13 t
Brazil434.30 m t2.03 t431.07 m t2.01 t865.37 m t4.04 t
Sweden35.00 m t3.36 t4.77 m t0.46 t39.77 m t3.82 t
Ecuador39.29 m t2.21 t27.17 m t1.53 t66.46 m t3.73 t
Indonesia619.84 m t2.26 t280.95 m t1.03 t900.79 m t3.29 t
Macao *2.07 m t3.01 t150,575.46 t0.22 t2.22 m t3.23 t
Chad2.25 m t0.13 t52.72 m t3.07 t54.97 m t3.20 t
Colombia81.04 m t1.57 t76.84 m t1.49 t157.88 m t3.06 t
Egypt249.37 m t2.28 t75.13 m t0.69 t324.50 m t2.97 t
North Korea56.04 m t2.16 t18.08 m t0.70 t74.12 m t2.85 t
Albania4.83 m t1.72 t2.85 m t1.01 t7.68 m t2.73 t
Costa Rica8.24 m t1.60 t4.69 m t0.91 t12.93 m t2.51 t
Morocco71.48 m t1.93 t12.16 m t0.33 t83.64 m t2.26 t
India2.46 bn t1.75 t656.65 m t0.47 t3.11 bn t2.21 t
Cambodia16.18 m t0.98 t18.20 m t1.10 t34.38 m t2.07 t
Myanmar36.72 m t0.68 t73.05 m t1.36 t109.77 m t2.04 t
Philippines145.42 m t1.28 t64.73 m t0.57 t210.15 m t1.85 t
El Salvador7.80 m t1.24 t3.48 m t0.55 t11.28 m t1.79 t
Sudan20.62 m t0.45 t55.38 m t1.21 t76.00 m t1.66 t
Pakistan190.57 m t0.82 t162.76 m t0.70 t353.33 m t1.53 t
Zimbabwe11.76 m t0.74 t12.55 m t0.78 t24.31 m t1.52 t
Sri Lanka23.78 m t1.07 t8.22 m t0.37 t32.00 m t1.44 t
Nepal13.45 m t0.45 t23.55 m t0.78 t37.00 m t1.23 t
Nigeria115.28 m t0.54 t135.84 m t0.64 t251.12 m t1.18 t
Kenya22.28 m t0.42 t36.84 m t0.70 t59.12 m t1.12 t
Somalia690,000.00 t0.04 t17.98 m t1.05 t18.67 m t1.09 t
Bangladesh90.74 m t0.54 t92.65 m t0.55 t183.39 m t1.08 t
Ghana20.04 m t0.61 t10.90 m t0.33 t30.94 m t0.94 t
Cameroon9.43 m t0.35 t15.55 m t0.57 t24.98 m t0.92 t
Ethiopia18.36 m t0.15 t84.14 m t0.70 t102.50 m t0.85 t
Haiti3.32 m t0.29 t5.28 m t0.46 t8.60 m t0.75 t
Afghanistan6.08 m t0.15 t16.37 m t0.41 t22.45 m t0.56 t
Congo (Dem. Republic)3.21 m t0.03 t34.93 m t0.36 t38.14 m t0.40 t
Liberia1.18 m t0.23 t370,000.00 t0.07 t1.55 m t0.30 t
Malawi1.45 m t0.07 t3.95 m t0.20 t5.40 m t0.27 t
Rwanda1.33 m t0.10 t1.88 m t0.14 t3.21 m t0.24 t
Burundi720,000.00 t0.06 t1.35 m t0.11 t2.07 m t0.16 t

What are greenhouse gases?

Climate change is promoted by so-called greenhouse gases. These are mainly methane (CH₄) and carbon dioxide (CO₂). Both gases occur in nature and protect the earth from having too much heat released into space via the earth's atmosphere.

If these gases did not exist, we would have an average global temperature of around -20°C. But if we have too much of these gases, too little heat energy is dissipated into space and the earth heats up. This may not sound drastic at first, but it disturbs many interdependent climatic conditions:

CO₂ emissions from combustion in power plants If it gets warmer all over the world, deserts will become drier and permafrost areas like Antarctica will melt. Climate conditions and ocean currents are changing, destroying habitats. Additional meltwater and changing climate conditions cause sea levels to rise.

Rising temperatures is a chain reaction

It is often argued that these changes belong to nature and have been on Earth for millions of years. Where habitats change, life changes and new habitats are created elsewhere. This is correct in its approach, but it ignores the fact that an increase in temperatures also causes chain reactions.

For example, in the Arctic and Antarctic, considerable amounts of CO₂ are bound in ice, which would be released during melting. Cold water can also bind more CO₂ than warmer water. If the general water temperature of the oceans rises, the CO₂ previously bound in the water would also escape into the atmosphere. This results in a chain reaction, which makes it even warmer in an even shorter amount of time due to the additional CO₂, which would release even more greenhouse gases.

Other greenhouse gases, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, destroy the ozone layer, which shields the Earth from the majority of solar radiation. If part of this shield is missing, the sun will heat the earth's surface even more than before.

CO₂: Carbon Dioxide

The proportion of the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (chemical formula: CO₂), in our atmosphere has increased by about 40 percent since the beginning of industrialization alone. The trend of the last few years is particularly worrying. CO₂ is mainly produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and crude oil. This also applies to the combustion of their products, such as diesel or petrol. CO₂ is originally a natural component of air. The additional CO₂ released by humans in large quantities is absorbed by the air and the oceans, resulting in air pollution and acidification of the oceans.

Development of global CO₂ emissions in billions of metric tons

Development of CO₂ emissions

Of the 34.34 billion tons of CO₂ produced by human beings worldwide in 2019, around 45 percent was generated by fossil fuels such as coal. A further 31 percent was from the combustion of liquid fuels such as petrol, diesel and kerosene. In contrast, the share of energy generation through the consumption of gaseous energy sources such as natural gas was only 21 percent.

CH₄: Methane

In addition to carbon dioxide, methane (chemical formula: CH₄) is also a greenhouse gas. It is rarer than CO₂, but its effect is 33 times higher. It is assumed that about 20 percent of the greenhouse effect is due to methane. The release of methane is also largely attributable to human beings. It is mainly produced in agriculture and forestry, in mass livestock farming and in sewage treatment plants and landfills.

People often laugh at the fact that cows produce large amounts of methane during digestion and that this gas is blown naturally (front or back) into the environment. If cow dung is used as fertilizer on the fields, this is also the case. The German Farmers' Association states that the production of one liter of milk releases CO₂ equivalents of approx. 1.1 kg. However, these values are several times higher in Asia and Africa.

Global methane emissions in billions of tons
(Figures in CO₂ equivalents)

Development of methane emissions

Of the 8.24 billion tons of methane released worldwide in 2019, 40 percent was from energy production and 42 percent from agriculture, which mainly consists of factory farming and the use of fertilizers.

* Dependent territories

The following countries are not sovereign states, but dependent territories or areas of other states:
  • Bermuda: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Cayman Islands: self-governing territory of the UK
  • Hong Kong: special administrative region of China
  • Macao: special administrative region of China
  • New Caledonia: territory of France
Further information on the definition of a country can be found in our article, What is a country?

Data Sources

Collecting these values for all countries in the world is extremely complicated and lengthy. There are no central reporting points, so the data must be calculated from other sources, such as coal-fired power plants or oil company sales. This is not only tedious, but can only be done with great delays. The above data for CO₂ values come from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center and in most cases represent the year 2019. The methane emission data are almost entirely for 2019 and comes from the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), a European Commission program. More recent data will be published here as they become available.