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Total Annual CO2 Emissions

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While an interesting graph, measuring the total national emissions is essentially meaningless given that we're not taking into account the nation's population size. The fact that Ireland is the lowest emitter or that China's total emissions have sky-rocketed during the last 2 decades tells us nothing as their respective populations are at the opposite ends of the scale.

A more accurate measure, one we should use to truly identify the worst-performing countries is emissions in terms of CO2 emitted per person.

CO2 Emmissions per Capita

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North America, the US and Canada combined, is by the far the largest emitter of carbon dioxide by tonnes per capita, among our countries of interest. But in general this gives us a more accurate picture of the countries' contributions based on their populations. Ireland isn't looking so great anymore - on a per-capita basis, we actually generated more CO2 emissions than China in 2016, which was quite a shocking stat for me.

2016 Per-Capita Emissions

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In the map above we compare CO2 emissions per capita for 2016, the year with the latest up-to-date available data for all countries involved. How about the 10 worst emitters, per capita?

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Data downloaded from OWID, which is originall sourced from the Global Carbon Project (https://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/18/data.htm), Gapminder and UN population estimates.

Further Analysis


National carbon pricing initiatives will be the leading factor in tackling global climate change. However, in today's current political climate, it will be extremely difficult to implement these policies in many countries, including in the developed world. Something I am interested in is looking at how trust in national governments and perceived corruption have an impact on, one, if these intiatives are even implemented and, two, how these factors affect the ambitiousness of the pricing schemes - how high a government will set the carbon tax.

This will form part of my next post.