Which countries are the world’s biggest carbon polluters?

countries biggest carbon polluters

Not all countries face the same level of responsibility regarding the climate crisis. The biggest polluters need to take action to reduce their carbon emissions, but also to offset their carbon footprint by supporting environmental projects around the world. 

Each year more than 30 giga-tons of CO2 are released into the Earth’s atmosphere: this is the main source of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The largest part of these gases comes from the use of fossil fuels, the generation of energy through non-renewable channels and polluting human activities.

The last report of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) pointed out that during the last year recorded (2020), the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere broke another record, despite a drop in fossil fuel emissions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, the concentration reached 413 parts per million (ppm) in 2020, 149% more than pre-industrial levels (before 1750).

Top 10 polluters

However, most of this pollution comes from just a few countries: China, for example, generates around 30% of all global emissions, while the United States is responsible for almost 14%.In the ranking below you can find the 10 countries that produce the most emissions, measured in millions of tons of CO2 in 2019.

  1. China, with more than 10,065 million tons of CO2 released.
  2. United States, with 5,416 million tons of CO2
  3. India, with 2,654 million tons of CO2
  4. Russia, with 1,711 million tons of CO2
  5. Japan, 1,162 million tons of CO2
  6. Germany, 759 million tons of CO2
  7. Iran, 720 million tons of CO2
  8. South Korea, 659 million tons of CO2
  9. Saudi Arabia, 621 million tons of CO2
  10. Indonesia, 615 million tons of CO2

Reaching carbon neutrality

These countries won’t be able to reach carbon neutrality only by reducing their domestic emissions.  They will need to offset much of their carbon footprint on international carbon markets. This is what ClimateTrade is about: our marketplace makes it easy for anyone to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by supporting certified projects around the world. Contact our team of specialists to know more.

Here you can see the Top 5 polluters of carbon dioxide from 2018, along with their global share and the evolution each country has experienced since the 70’s.


carbon dioxide emission
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