Published by
World Resource Institute (WRI)

Visualizing the most recent global greenhouse gas emissions data

The World Resources Institute (WRI) has updated its CAIT Climate Data Explorer to include international and U.S. state greenhouse gases up to 2012. The update lets you access the most current multi-sector inventory for 186 countries and 50 U.S. states covering six greenhouse gases. Leveraging this data, we are introducing two new dynamic data visualizations to help you explore global emissions by country, U.S. states and their respective sectors.

The picture of global emissions tells a number of stories:

The largest emitters contribute a majority of global emissions. The top 10 emitters [1] contribute 72 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding land use change and forestry [2]). On the other hand, the lowest 100 emitters contribute less than 3 percent.

The energy sector is the dominant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The energy sector contributes more than 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Six of the top 10 emitters are developing countries. According to the data, China contributes approximately 25 percent of global emissions, making it the top emitter. India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and Iran are also contributing relatively large shares of global emissions as their economies grow. It is important, however, to consider a range of indicators that help differentiate the responsibility and capability of countries to act.

Per capita emissions are still distributed unequally. Per person emissions still vary among the top 10 emitters, with the United States’ per capita emissions eight times those of India. Explore these differences further in our 6 graphs that explain the world’s top 10 emitters.


Explore More on the CAIT Climate Data Explorer

To learn more about global emissions, visit WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer. Data is available for 186 countries and multiple sectors and gases, and spans 162 years. In addition to historical emissions, CAIT also offers a variety of tools to explore other dimensions of climate policy, including an INDC Tracker, Emissions Projections and Equity Explorer.

Author: Johannes Friedrich, Associate, Global Climate Program, World Resources Institute

[1] The European Union (EU28) is shown as one emitter because it is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has submitted an INDC.
[2] While CAIT has data on Land-Use Change and Forestry emissions, the graph is not able to show them, since some emitters have negative emissions in this category (sinks) and this type of percentage chart is not able to visualize negative sectors numbers. Emissions and percentages also exclude bunker fuels, therefore percentages might vary slightly from other estimates.