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5 Countries With Highest CO2 Emissions

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Global emissions of carbon dioxide are 10 times what they were 100 years ago. According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CO2 reached a seasonal peak in May, marking the highest monthly reading ever.

And while the coronavirus has slowed emissions for the time being, the overall impact of CO2 on our planet remains devastating. CO2 causes the Earth's climate to warm, shrinking glaciers, accelerating sea level rise and creating more intense heat waves. Scientists say there will be more droughts, heat waves, and intense hurricanes.

So, which countries produce the most CO2 emissions? We use data from the Global Carbon Atlas and Our World in Data to create this list of the top five offenders:

Leading the list is China. CO2 emissions from China have increased rapidly since 2001, when emissions were 3.48 billion tons. Today, they are 10 billion tons, or about 27% of global emissions.

Next up is the United States—the U.S. produces 15% of global emissions, followed by India. Emissions in India have also been steadily on the rise since 2001. Russia is fourth. The country reached a peak of emissions in 1990, at 2.57 billion tons, then dropped to about the current level of 1.7 billion tons since then. And finally, in fifth place is Japan. Its emissions account for about 3.3% of global emissions.

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