“Emissions” have become an environmental buzzword. CO2 emissions are a primary culprit in the trend of rapid global warming. The problem is so severe that governments have joined together to cut these emissions. The Paris Agreement is the most visible of these. And, in the U.S., President Biden has set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The hurdles to these goals are tremendous. Consumers contribute to CO2 emissions through daily tasks like driving. Entire industries, led by fossil fuels producers, are not likely to be able to cut their emissions by any meaningful level at all. If these trends continue, the melting of the polar icecaps will trigger rising oceans, and some parts of the world that are homes to tens of millions of people will no longer be habitable.
There have been some modest but sustained efforts to cut CO2 emissions. This range from wind farms, to solar power to electric cars, which have become a major target of future car buyers. However, Even as nations endeavor to shift to renewables and away from oil, coal, and natural gas, they still require fossil fuels to operate their economies. And some remain the biggest producers of CO2 in the world.
To determine the country with the world’s highest CO2 emissions per capita in 2019, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data for some 148 countries from the International Energy Agency’s GHG Emissions from Energy 2021 Edition report. Countries are ranked by CO2 emissions in metric tons per population. Data on CO2 emissions in 2010 is also given in metric tons per population. Data on CO2 emission per GDP is given in kg of CO2 per GDP in 2015 U.S. dollars, and data on total greenhouse gas emissions from energy is given in million metric tons of the CO2 equivalent. All data comes from the IEA.
European and Asian countries dominate the list we considered, although nations from every continent except Antarctica are represented. Even Western European nations such as The Netherlands and Norway that are considered leaders in the move toward a sustainable future, are still using fossil fuels, so have found a place here.
The country with the highest CO2 emissions per capita is Qatar. Here are the details:
> CO2 emissions, metric tons per capita, 2019: 30.68
> CO2 emissions, metric tons per capita, 2010: 29.91 — #1 highest of 147 countries
> CO2 emissions per GDP, 2019: 0.35 — #23 highest of 148 countries
> Total GHG emissions, million metric tons, 2019: 109.67 — #39 highest of 87 countries
Qatar, on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, had the highest amount of CO2 emissions in metric tons per capita of any nation on this list in 2019 and 2020. Energy production, total primary energy supply, electricity final consumption, and total CO2 emissions have all soared by at least 533% since 1990 in the nation of about 2.9 million people.