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Visualizing All the World’s Carbon Emissions by Country

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all carbon emissions by country

Visualizing All The World’s Carbon Emissions By Country

The greenhouse effect, essential for sustaining Earth’s life-friendly temperatures, has been intensified by burning fossil fuels.

This amplification of the natural greenhouse effect has led to significant alterations to the planet’s climate system.

The graphic above uses data from the Global Carbon Atlas to explore which countries contribute the most to CO₂ emissions.

Ranked: Global CO₂ Emissions by Country

According to the Global Carbon Atlas, the world’s top polluters are China, India, and the U.S., which accounted for 52% of the world’s CO₂ in 2021.

These countries are also the biggest in terms of population.

RankCountryRegionTotal Emissions (%)
#1🇨🇳 China Asia30.9%
#2🇺🇸 U.S.North America13.5%
#3🇮🇳 India Asia7.3%
#4🇷🇺 Russia Europe4.7%
#5🇯🇵 JapanAsia2.9%
#6🇮🇷 Iran Asia2.0%
#7🇩🇪 GermanyEurope1.8%
#8🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaOther1.8%
#9🇮🇩 Indonesia Asia1.7%
#10🇰🇷 South Korea Asia1.7%
#11🇨🇦 CanadaNorth America1.5%
#12🇧🇷 Brazil South America1.3%
#13🇹🇷 TürkiyeEurope1.2%
#14🇿🇦 South AfricaAfrica1.2%
#15🇲🇽 Mexico North America1.1%
#16🇦🇺 Australia Oceania 1.1%
#17🇬🇧 UKEurope0.9%
#18🇮🇹 Italy Europe0.9%
#19🇵🇱 PolandEurope 0.9%
n/a🌐 Rest of WorldOther21.7%

In terms of CO₂ emissions per capita (metric tons), the U.S. is relatively high at 15.32, while China and India rank lower at 7.44 and 1.89, respectively.

Historically, the U.S. has been the largest carbon emitter, releasing 422 billion metric tons of CO₂ into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. This is equivalent to almost a quarter of all CO₂ produced from fossil fuels and industrial activities.

Given their massive populations and the fact that countries typically increase their emissions as they become more developed, China and India may continue to grow their shares even further. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that India’s share of global emissions could rise to 10% by 2030.

All of these major contributors of carbon to the atmosphere have set goals to reduce emissions over the next decades. While the U.S. targets net-zero emissions by 2050, China aims for carbon neutrality by 2060 and India recently set a target of 2070.

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Environment

Charted: Share of World Forests by Country

We visualize which countries have the biggest share of world forests by area—and while country size plays a factor, so too, does the environment.

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A cropped pie chart showing the share of world forest by country.

Charted: Share of World Forests by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The world contains over three trillion trees.

The tropics and subtropics account for slightly less than half of all trees (1.3 trillion), the boreal regions for about one-fourth (0.74 trillion) and the temperate regions about one-fifth of the world’s forests (0.66 trillion).

What does this look like on a per country basis?

Using data from the World Bank, we visualize the share of the world’s total forest area per country.

Naturally larger countries tend to have more forest area, and thus, a greater percentage of the world’s forests, but it’s interesting to see how local environments also influence the metric.

Ranked: Countries with the Largest Share of World Forests

At the top of the list, Russia, has more than one-fifth of the world’s forests by itself. This is equal to 8 million km2 of forest, slightly less than half of the entire country.

RankCountryForest Area (Sq. km)Forest Area (% of
World's Forests)
1🇷🇺 Russia8,153,11620.1%
2🇧🇷 Brazil4,953,91412.3%
3🇨🇦 Canada3,468,9118.6%
4🇺🇸 U.S.3,097,9507.7%
5🇨🇳 China2,218,5785.5%
6🇦🇺 Australia1,340,0513.3%
7🇨🇩 DRC1,250,5393.1%
8🇮🇩 Indonesia915,2772.3%
9🇮🇳 India724,2641.8%
10🇵🇪 Peru721,5751.8%
11🇦🇴 Angola660,5231.6%
12🇲🇽 Mexico655,6431.6%
13🇨🇴 Colombia589,4261.5%
14🇧🇴 Bolivia506,2081.3%
15🇻🇪 Venezuela461,7341.1%
16🇹🇿 Tanzania452,7601.1%
17🇿🇲 Zambia446,2581.1%
18🇲🇿 Mozambique364,9760.9%
19🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea358,2220.9%
20🇦🇷 Argentina284,6370.7%

The fifth-biggest (and sixth-most populated) country, Brazil, ranks second with slightly more than 12% of total forests, close to 5 million km2, which is more than 60% of the whole country. The biggest contributor to its forest cover is the Amazon, which has lost 237,000 km2 in the span of five years because of deforestation. The Amazon is also a significant part of Peru’s forest cover (ranked 10th on this list, with 1.8% share).

Canada and the U.S. each have about 8% of the world’s forests within their borders. Both countries have developed beloved national park systems aimed at protecting the natural biodiversity of the continent.

China rounds out the top five, with its 5.5% share. Unlike other nations whose forest cover has seen a steady decline, China managed to increase its forest area by 511,807 km2 in two and a half decades, an area that is bigger than the entirety of Thailand. The country also aims to have about 30% of the country covered by forests by 2050. Critics state that this massive reforestation drive might come at the cost of maintaining natural tree species, and instead promotes monocultures of non-native trees.

Meanwhile, Australia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) each share 3% of the world’s forests. The Congo Basin, the world’s second largest tropical rainforest, contributes heavily to the latter’s forest cover, and spreads out over five other countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

Indonesia, India, and Peru round out the top 10 with a 2% share each.

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