Total CO2 emissions from energy

Energy is responsible for the majority of climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels. Despite efforts to reduce these emissions, the trajectory of CO2 emissions globally remains far higher than what is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Note that numbers shown below refer to CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in the energy sector. They do not include other important sources of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions such as methane leaks from oil and gas operations, which are more difficult to measure. The Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Energy Data Explorer has more complete estimates for most countries and regions.

Per-capita CO2 emissions

Per-capita energy-related CO2 emissions tend to be higher in more economically-developed countries, but can also vary greatly depending on the structure of the economy and the energy system. For example, per-capita emissions will be higher in countries that rely more on carbon-intensive modes of transportation (like driving and flying), have a higher share of energy-intensive industries (like steel or chemicals) or depend heavily on fossil fuels for power generation.

CO2 emissions by fuel

The vast majority of CO2 emissions in the energy sector come from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas for power generation or to fuel vehicles and machines.

CO2 emissions by sector

The sectoral breakdown of energy-related CO2 emissions depends on the structure of the economy and the energy system. Power plants generate emissions by burning fuels to generate electricity and heat. In transport, the vast majority of emissions in most countries come from cars, which despite the rapid growth of EVs are still overwhelmingly reliant on oil-based fuels. Fossil fuel heating is the predominant source of residential emissions in most countries.

In industry, emissions come primarily from burning fossil fuels to produce heat for industrial processes such as making paper or steel. Note that CO2 emissions generated directly by certain processes, like cement making, are not inlcuded here, and can be substantial.