The World’s Top Emitters

Global leaders will converge on New York City Monday for "The Future in Our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change," a special conference hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help advance world-wide action on global warming. And President Bush has used this opportunity to host a smaller gathering in Washington, DC later in the week that will bring together leaders from 11 countries, the United Nations, and the European Union (representatives from Britain, France, Germany, and Italy will attend) that have been identified as the world’s "top emitters."

The interactive map below shows who some of these top emitters are, who has been invited to Bush’s September 28 meeting, and who has already committed to the United Nation’s Kyoto Accord—an international treaty on climate change.

How to use the maps:

Get information: Hover over a country to see how many metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions it emits per capita, or how many millions of tons it emits total, and whether it has ratified the Kyoto Accord. Invitees to Bush’s September 28th major emitters meeting are also marked.
Zoom in: Use the magnifying glass, or mark an area with the cursor
Zoom out: Right click and select zoom out, or use the magnifying glass

Per Capita World Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Consumption and Flaring of Fossil Fuels, 2004 (metric tons)


Red: over 15 metric tons of carbon per capita annually in 2004
Dark Orange: 10 – 15 metric tons per capita
Light Orange: 5 – 10 metric tons per capita
Yellow: 2 – 5 metric tons per capita
Light Green: 1 – 2 metric tons per capita
Dark Green: less than 1 metric ton per capita

Source: Energy Information Administration

Total World Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Consumption and Flaring of Fossil Fuels, 2005 (millions of metric tons)


Red: over 1,000 total million metric tons of carbon annually in 2005
Dark Orange: 300 – 1,000 million tons
Light Orange: 100 – 300 million tons
Yellow: 10 – 100 million tons
Light Green: 3 – 10 million tons
Dark Green: less than 3 million tons

Source: Energy Information Administration

The United States is one of the world’s leading emitters, producing almost 6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year according to the Energy Information Administration’s most recent estimate in 2005. China has been hot on the U.S.’s heels in terms of emissions, and this year the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency estimates that China has become the world’s greatest overall emitter. But while China ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2002, the United States has stated that it does not intend to do so. And it’s not the only one. Australia, one of the top emitters both per capita and in terms of total emissions, has also failed to join the 171 other countries that have ratified the Kyoto Accord.

It’s time for the United States and other major emitters to step up and make serious commitment to fighting the deadly effects of climate change. As such, these major emitters should commit to prompt, binding, enforceable greenhouse gas reductions, not make promises about "aspirational goals."  Anything less will fail to seriously address global warming, and all nations will suffer the consequences.