Top CO2 polluters and highest per capita

Readers Question: What country’s don’t use the carbon tax and with country produces the most carbon dioxide.

The biggest absolute emissions come from China, and the United States. In terms of CO2 emissions per capita, China is ranked only ranked 55th, at 6.2 metric tonnes per capita. The US is 8th at 17.6 per capita. India is the third highest country in terms of absolute emissions, but 127th in terms of per capita output with 1.7 metric tonnes per capita.

pollution-smog

Why don’t countries use the carbon tax?

  • Taxes are generally politically unpopular. A tax on carbon emissions will affect the living costs of many people. This can make the government reluctant to impose the tax.
  • There is also the free rider problem. A small country may think – what is the point in introducing carbon tax when their CO2 emissions are dwarfed by other countries like China and the US? Especially, when these bigger countries don’t seem inclined to do too much about the issue.
  • There is also differing opinions about the potential cost of CO2 emissions to the environment. In the US, there is a strong lobby which argues global warming is not scientifically proven. Therefore, there is a resistance to impeded CO2 emissions.
  • Another factor is that there are significant vested interests in the oil industry / other industries which pollute. They fear CO2 tax will reduce their profitability so they are willing to fight against moves to introduce taxes.
  • Another argument used is that a Carbon tax will harm jobs.

Highest CO2 emissions by country

List of countries by 2010 emissions
Country Annual CO2 emissions
Thousands of tonnes  % of world
1. China 8,286,892 26.43%
2.  United States 5,433,057 17.33%
 3. EU (27) 3,688,880 13.33%
 4. India 2,008,823 6.41%
 5. Russia 1,740,776 5.55%
 6. Japan 1,170,715 3.73%
 7. Germany 745,384 2.38%
 8. Iran 571,612 1.82%
 9. South Korea 567,567 1.81%
 10. Canada 499,137 1.59%
 11. United Kingdom 493,505 1.57%
 12. Saudi Arabia 464,481 1.48%
 13. South Africa 460,124 1.47%
 14. Mexico 443,674 1.42%
 15. Indonesia 433,989 1.38%
 16. Brazil 419,754 1.34%
 17. Italy 406,307 1.30%
 18. Australia 373,081 1.19%
 19. France 361,273 1.15%
 20. Poland 317,254 1.01%

Top CO2 emissions Per Capita

(metric tons per capita)

Country Name 2010
1 Qatar 40.3
2 Trinidad and Tobago 38.2
3 Kuwait 31.3
4 Luxembourg 21.4
5 Oman 20.4
6 United Arab Emirates 19.9
7 Bahrain 19.3
8 United States 17.6
9 Saudi Arabia 17.0
10 Australia 16.9
11 Kazakhstan 15.2
12 Canada 14.6
13 Estonia 13.7
14 Russian Federation 12.2
15 Norway 11.7
16 Finland 11.5
17 Korea, Rep. 11.5
18 Netherlands 11.0
19 Czech Republic 10.6
20 Turkmenistan 10.5
21 OECD members 10.1
22 Belgium 10.0
23 Libya 9.8
24 Israel 9.3
25 South Africa 9.2
26 Japan 9.2
27 Germany 9.1
28 Ireland 8.9
29 Denmark 8.3
30 Poland 8.3
31 Bosnia and Herzegovina 8.1
32 Austria 8.0
33 United Kingdom 7.9
35 Iran, Islamic Rep. 7.7
36 Greece 7.7
37 Malaysia 7.7
38 Europe & Central Asia (all income levels) 7.6
39 Slovenia 7.5
40 Euro area 7.4

Selected others

  • 55. China 6.2
  • 127 India 1.7

Lowest CO2 emissions per Capita

By comparison some of the poorest countries produce practically zero CO2 emissions per capital

Madagascar 0.096
Eritrea 0.089
Niger 0.089
Malawi 0.083
Ethiopia 0.075
Somalia 0.063
Central African Republic 0.061
Rwanda 0.055
Congo, Dem. Rep. 0.049
Mali 0.045
Chad 0.040
Burundi 0.033
Lesotho 0.009

 

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