China Emits More Carbon Dioxide Than The U.S. and EU Combined

The U.S. was historically the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, but China now emits more than the U.S. and EU combined.

In this Dec. 30, 2016 photo, a truck leaves with metal products from the sprawling complex that is a part of the Jiujiang steel and rolling mills in Qianan in northern China’s Hebei province. Faced with choking smog in the Chinese capital, Chinese media and policy circles often point to a list of culprits: the central government’s inability to shut down polluting steel mills, the middle class’s insatiable demand for cars, poorer segments of society’s insistence on burning coal. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In the previous article, I discussed the relentless upward march of global carbon dioxide emissions. According to data from the 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, the world reached a new all-time high for global carbon dioxide emissions in 2017.

Today, I want to discussion trends and relative contributions from the world’s most significant carbon dioxide emitters.

Since 1965, no country has put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the United States. The 264 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide the U.S. has emitted to the atmosphere represented 22.5% of global emissions during that time, and was well ahead of the cumulative 216 billion metric tons from the European Union (EU). In second place among countries was the 188 billion metric tons emitted by China.

But as China has industrialized — with a heavy reliance on coal-fired power — Chinese emissions have rocketed past both those of the U.S. and the EU:

Carbon dioxide emissions from 1965 to 2017.

China’s emissions passed those of the U.S. in 2005, and by 2012 had surpassed the combined contribution of both the U.S. and the EU. Should recent trends continue, China will be responsible for the most atmospheric carbon dioxide in less than 20 years.

China has lots of regional company, t00. The Asia Pacific region is home to both China and India — the world’s two most populous countries and two of the largest carbon dioxide emitters. It is also home to other fast-growing and/or populous countries, like Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Japan. Over the past decade, this region’s carbon dioxide emissions have grown at an average annual rate of 3.1%, which was nearly triple the global average. As a result, Asia Pacific is now responsible for nearly 50% of global carbon dioxide emissions.