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Surprising Statistics About Global Carbon Emissions

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

The alarming statistics of carbon emissions and their effects on climate change are ever-growing. Carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere, leading to rising temperatures - a major contributor to global warming. Scientists suggest that 2020 is likely to be the hottest year on record, following the hottest decade in recorded history. Despite this, our carbon emissions continue to climb as we engage in activities such as burning fossil fuels for energy, driving cars for transportation, and other everyday tasks that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere with no end in sight.

Which countries are the most polluting?

In 2017, a staggering 79% of global CO2 emissions were attributed to fossil fuel burning and industrial activities. China was the world's clear leader in terms of carbon emission output at 30%, with the United States close behind at 15%. India (7%), Russia (5.5%) and Japan (3%) round out the top five highest emitter countries; together they account for nearly two-thirds of worldwide carbon dioxide output. If we are serious about mitigating climate change’s effects, concerted action must be taken by these key emitters – Germany, Iran South Korea and Saudi Arabia included - if any real progress is to be made on reducing our collective environmental impact

Pollution in the sea

Our oceans face a grave threat - pollution and rising sea levels resulting from climate change. The Ocean Cleanup estimates that 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, which is an alarming amount by any measure. Carbon Brief also highlights this issue, noting that carbon emissions contribute enormously to global warming – making up 60% of all CO2 released into our atmosphere annually.

Animals in danger

An astonishing one million species of animals and plants are at risk of becoming extinct due to climate change. This alarming statistic shines a light on the critical need for carbon emissions reduction in the world. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reports that approximately 25 percent of all animal and plant life directly depends on carbon dioxide-absorbing forests, grasslands, and wetlands that are being affected by our rapidly changing climatic conditions. International conservationists encourage individuals to reduce their carbon footprints and make changes in their lifestyle in order to protect animals impacted by climate change, because without intervention species may soon become either diminished or rendered extinct entirely.

Melting poles

Melting poles

The poles have been melting faster than ever in recent history, an alarming trend which experts believe is a result of carbon emissions and climate change. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sea ice has decreased by 4.3% per decade since 1979; further evidence of melting at the poles can be seen in the rising sea levels measured by NASA's satellites.

Finally we know that climate change is having a destructive impact on our planet's ecosystems, and it falls to us as global citizens to take action. Carbon emissions are the biggest culprit in this destruction; hence an urgent need for drastic reductions across all industries, nations and at intergovernmental levels exists. However, we must not forget that these steps can also contribute towards economic growth-which serve not only environmental objectives but could help create more sustainable futures too! Through concerted efforts of individual actions paired with collective awareness campaigns -we may yet reverse climate damage and foster better living conditions for generations ahead.

Want to know your businesses' carbon footprint? Click here to calculate your emissions

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