World Carbon Emissions per Capita

If you live in the US you probably “contribute” three times more carbon dioxide emissions to climate change than a person in the UK.

For example:

  • A person living in the US emits on average 16 tonnes of carbon emissions per year
  • Somebody living in the UK emits on average 7 tonnes of carbon emissions per year
  • If you live in China you’d probably emit on average 5 tonnes of carbon emissions per year

Some takeaways:

  • There are significant variations of emissions per capita in the world.
  • Despite the strong correlation between standards of living and emissions, there are wide differences between countries with similar standards of living.
  • Ultimately, the country’s policy and technological preferences explain the difference.
2019 Carbon Dioxide Emissions, tonnes per capita
2019 Carbon Dioxide Emissions, tonnes per capita

Emission data from the Global Carbon Project

Population data from World Bank

Graph by

Furthermore, a point for discussion is that these graphs usually reflect produced emissions and not consumed.

It means emissions embedded in products manufactured in foreign countries are not accounted into the countries where the goods are consumed.

If we could add the consumption perspective, we may see emissions rankings change. Besides, with these data states could develop better programs that cut emissions from both the production and consumption side.

If you are interested in this topic read how our lifestyle can influence significantly in our impact on the planet in this article.

Carlos Sanchez