Report: Few, Rich Countries Produce Most of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • December 21, 2004
Climate Data: Insights and Observations, by Kevin Baumert, Jonathan Pershing, Timothy Herzog and Matthew Markoff of the World Resources Institute (WRI), draws policy-relevant observations from a comprehensive database of emissions, energy, economic and other data assembled by WRI and called the Climate Analysis Indicators Tool.The report focuses largely on the 25 countries with the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Among its findings:
  • A relatively small number of countries produce a large majority of global GHG emissions, and most also rank among the world's most populous countries and those with the largest economies. The group includes almost an equal number of developed and developing countries, as well as economies in transition.
  • Per capita emissions and per capita income vary widely among the major emitters, a group that includes some the world's richest and poorest countries.
  • The group of top emitters varies little whether counting only carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion, or CO2 from land use change as well, or other greenhouse gases; or whether looking at present, cumulative or projected emissions.
The report also looks at variations in carbon intensity, vulnerability to adverse climate impacts, and capacity to address climate change.