China, the United States and India: more than half of CO2 emissions come from them

Elizabeth Smith

We anticipated this a few days ago. Among the main topics at Cop28 in Dubai will be the discussion regarding aid to developing countries to combat climate change. It is worth mentioning that as early as 2010 the Green Climate Fund, based in South Korea, was established. And it should also be noted that during a conference organized in Bonn a few weeks ago it was announced that the allocating countries have agreed to replenish this fund with some 8,900 million euros.

However, it should also be said that this talk has been stretched and postponed for years. The role of Cop27 was to finally give an impetus to the creation of the loss and damage fund. I.e., a financial institution specifically designed to compensate for losses and damages caused by the climate crisis.

The goal is to help poorer countries by compensating them for the consequences of climate change. After all, the basic concept is quite simple. Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, which are and have been largely produced by industrialized and rich countries, with the consequences, however, very often being worse for developing countries.

And indeed even today there are still huge differences on the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by different states. In fact, a recent report shows that China, the United States and India alone emit more than half of global CO2 emissions.

3 countries, more than half of global CO2 emissions: the Global Carbon Atlas study

The Global Carbon Atlas report starts with data from the end of 2021, or rather, from measurements that were taken up to the end of that year. It turns out that the country with the highest CO2 emissions is currently China. Which had generated 10,668 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021, accounting for 30.9 percent of total emissions. 1.4 billion people, or 19.5 percent of the world’s population, emit nearly a third of global CO2 emissions.

Historically, it must be said, the role of largest emitter had long been held by the United States, which instead comes in second place in this report, with 4.713 million MtCo2, equivalent to 13.5 percent globally. This compares with a population of 331.9 million.

In third place is India, with 7.3 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Here then, these three countries alone end up producing 51.7 percent of global emissions, in fact more than half of global CO2 emissions.

Prospects for the future

Behind China, the United States and India are Russia, with 47 percent of global CO2 emissions. Japan, with 2.9 percent. Iran, with 2 percent. Germany and Saudi Arabia, both at 1.8 percent. And then Indonesia, South Korea, Canada, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa , Australia, the United Kingdom, Poland, and Italy.

In addition to these “few” countries is the rest of the world, responsible for 21.7 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. The disproportions are gigantic and impossible to miss.

To make matters worse is the fact that, with development, countries tend to increase their emissions. The risk is therefore that countries like India and China, in a few years, will present even worse data.

Read also: Carbon Neutral, Net Zero, and Climate Positive: what are the differences?

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