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Special Reports

Ranked: Countries That Produce the Most Carbon Dioxide (CO2), 2023

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2), a colorless and odorless greenhouse gas, plays a crucial role in supporting life on Earth. However, excessive concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere can disrupt natural temperature patterns and contribute to global warming. Recent years have witnessed a significant surge in CO2 emissions, driven by various factors, including industrialization, agriculture, and deforestation. Despite a temporary decline in fossil fuel emissions during the pandemic, CO2 levels reached a record high in August 2023, prompting urgent action to address the issue.

Identifying the Top Carbon Emission Producers

A comprehensive evaluation was conducted to rank the top 25 countries producing the most carbon dioxide emissions. Three primary metrics were considered: CO2 emissions per capita, total carbon emissions, and CO2 emissions per GDP. Each metric was weighted differently, with CO2 emissions per capita receiving the highest weight.

Top 25 Countries That Produce the Most Carbon Dioxide (CO2), 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 14.3 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 672.38
    Pledged not to build new power plants without carbon capture technology and allocated over $266 billion for cleaner electricity production and grid expansion.
    Launched the Saudi Green Initiative, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% across the region, equivalent to 130 million tons.
  2. Kuwait 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 21.2 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 106.15
    High electricity demand and reliance on the oil sector drive emissions, exacerbating the issue of carbon emissions
  3. Bahrain 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 22 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 39.02
    Targeting net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, implementing strategies like carbon capture technology and afforestation.
  4. Qatar 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 31.7 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 95.67
    Analyzing the impact of the FIFA World Cup revealed that travel and accommodation contributed to 95% of greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. United Arab Emirates 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 20.3 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 204.08
    High energy production and consumption drive emissions; aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  6. Russia 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 11.2 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 1755.53
    Energy sector is the key contributor to carbon emissions; Russia aims to reduce emissions to 70% of 1990 levels in the next decade as per the Paris Agreement.
  7. Oman 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 15.6 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 80.97
    Industrial sector, including cement, ammonia, and petrochemicals, is the primary source of CO2 emissions, followed by the oil and gas sector.
  8. Kazakhstan 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 11.3 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 276.67
    Highly reliant on fossil fuels for revenue and daily use, particularly coal for power and heating, posing challenges in emission reduction.
  9. United States
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 13 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 5007.33
    Experienced a 5.2% surge in carbon dioxide emissions from 2020 to 2021, emphasizing the need for aggressive emission-cutting measures.
  10. Australia
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 14.8 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 391.21
    Reported a slight 0.1% increase in quarterly CO2 emissions in 2023, prompting attention to ongoing emissions reduction strategies.
  11. Brunei
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 21.7 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 10.48
    Committing to a 20% reduction in carbon emissions, with plans for carbon reporting and pricing in the energy sector.
  12. Canada
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 13.6 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 545.64
    Despite being a significant emitter, Canada achieved a 17.2% decrease in per capita emissions since 2005.
  13. South Korea 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 11 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 616.06
    Population growth and industrialization contribute to increased emissions and pollution.
  14. China 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 7.8 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 11472.39
    A large population and reliance on coal drive high energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  15. Japan 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 8 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 1067.4
    Urban areas contribute significantly to emissions, with a focus on residential, transportation, and power sources.
  16. Trinidad and Tobago
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 10.2 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 36.13
    High per capita emissions, but contributes only 1% to global carbon dioxide emissions.
  17. Malaysia 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 7.4 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 256.04
    Targeting a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as emissions are projected to rise significantly.
  18. Turkmenistan 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 10.2 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 82.99
    Aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 to combat climate change and its associated impacts.
  19. Czech Republic
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 8.3 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 97.3
    Demonstrating progress toward UN Sustainable Development Goals, but facing challenges with increasing carbon emissions.
  20. Palau 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 8.8 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: Not specified
    Notable emissions due to tourism and food imports prompted a focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption.
  21. Luxembourg 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 12.5 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 8.35
    High reliance on fuel burning due to its transit status and energy imports, contributing to increased CO2 emissions.
  22. Poland 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 7.4 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 328.59
    Witnessed a 2.7% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, with the energy sector being the largest contributor.
  23. Netherlands 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 7.5 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 141.03
    Commits to sustainable soil management and carbon storage, with recent approval for a significant carbon reduction project.
  24. Belgium 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 7.4 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 95.74
    Launched “Project Greensand” to store CO2 underground in the North Sea, a promising initiative for emission control.
  25. Singapore 
    CO2 Emissions per Capita: 7.7 metric tons
    Total Carbon Emissions: 32.5
    Pledged a 35% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, aligning with the Paris Agreement.

Assessing global carbon emissions reveals a complex issue driven by diverse factors, from energy production to industrial activities. Countries atop this list confront environmental and economic imperatives to slash emissions. Many align with international agreements, like the Paris Agreement, and adopt measures such as carbon capture and green energy investments.

Nonetheless, challenges remain: high per capita emissions, industrial reliance, and economic constraints. Collaboration is imperative. In an interconnected world, international cooperation and shared innovations are vital to combat climate change and secure a sustainable future.


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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Special Reports - Ranked: Countries That Produce the Most Carbon Dioxide (CO2), 2023
Anna Papadopoulos
Anna Papadopoulos is a senior money, wealth, and asset management reporter at CEOWORLD magazine, covering consumer issues, investing and financial communities + author of the CEOWORLD magazine newsletter, writing about money with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You can follow CEOWORLD magazine on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn for musings on money, wealth, asset management, millionaires, and billionaires. Email her at info@ceoworld.biz.