Ice Cap to Ice Cap, Which Countries Lead the World in Global Warming Emissions?

Ever wonder who leads the world in global warming emissions? And by how much? A report released this month by the New Zealand government gives us this information.

In a 4-page report released by New Zealand regarding their 2020 emissions target, there is a simple summary of greenhouse gas emissions of leading developed and developing nations. The chart, placed on page 3 of the report, presents percentage of world emissions, emissions changes between 1990 and 2007, and stated 2020 and 2050 emissions targets for each of the leading countries.


The leading countries in world emissions most currently are:

1) China — 20.3%

2) United States — 18.3%

3) EU-27 — 13%

4) India — 5.1%

5) Japan — 3.5%

6) Brazil — 2.7%

In the EU, the leading countries are: Germany (956 million tons*), the United Kingdom (637 million tons*), Italy (553 million tons*), France (531 million tons*), Spain (442*), Poland (399*), and the Netherlands (208*).

The report released by New Zealand used data from the 2009 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Submissions collected by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the developed nations. For developing and other world nations, New Zealand used data from the World Resources Institute.

This is useful data in seeing exactly how much different countries are contributing to climate change through global warming emissions. As New Zealand argues, the relative emissions should help to guide us in relative responsibility of different countries to cut global warming emissions.

In setting 2020 and 2050 targets, we can all look at these emissions and changes in emissions and change our lives. Every individual is responsible for their greenhouse gas emissions. Look at the graphs and decide what you can do to make a change. For tips on what you can do, read “5 Products to Green in Your Everyday Life” and “7 Environmental Lesson from Living in Europe”

For more on why the EU fairs so well compared to the United States, read:

“7 Environmental Lesson from Living in Europe”

“4 New Eco-Design Rules for the EU — Saving as Much Power as Austria and Sweden Use Annually”

“Europe Says Financial Crisis Doesn’t Trump Climate Change”

*data are from the year 2007

Image credit 1: s.j.pettersson via flickr under a Creative Commons license

Image credit 2: xelor via flickr under a Creative Commons license