Carbon emissions per person by country per year (every year!)
When you're thinking about something as massive as the amount of greenhouse gases* (GHGs), particularly carbon dioxide* (CO2), that are released each year it helps to break it down into smaller chunks.
Looking at the big picture total - 50 billion tonnes of GHGs per year (of which about 40 billion tonnes is CO2) can be overwhelming.
A helpful way to think about global carbon emissions is to break it down to country level and then compare the population size to see how countries compare, on a per capita - person - basis.
When doing this we also need to take into account both emissions in the country, as well as imported emissions* for goods and services that are bought from other countries.
Globally there's huge variation that depends on a range of factors. As a general rule, though, wealthier countries emit a lot more per person.
Of course, looking at an average in any given country isn't perfect. It does give us a solid starting point to dig deeper into what's actually going on.
We compiled a list of countries and the average emissions per person for a wide range of countries around the world. From North America to Europe to Asia and Australia. .
It's a huge variation! As well as relative wealth of the countries it's also down to all sorts of things, for example the type of power plants they mostly use to generate electricity or how many cars or eating habits there.
The same pattern we see at the country level is repeated at the level of individuals. Wealthier people have and do more stuff, which has more carbon in it.
So we have to be aware, that even though taking an average across a whole country allows us to compare populations, on a per person basis you may be way over (or under) the average.
The only way to figure it out is to start with the average baseline for your country and try to get a more accurate picture of your own personal emissions from there (we're going to do more to help you do this in future). To give you some good rules of thumb to help there's loads more information in our free 14-day course.
Have a look at to others around the world.
We'd love you to remember that every tonne counts in climate change fighting value, so even if your country is lower than others, there's a lot of work everywhere to decarbonize* and to hit net zero* by 2050 at the latest.
Oh my! What can I do?
Good question! We hear you!
Making efforts across your lifestyle to reduce your emissions really will help.
You can also to get rid of some (or all!) of your emissions as a subscription or for a one-time purchase. It's our ready-made portfolio of high quality CDR that actually works in the way we need to truly take on the climate crisis.
If understanding emissions in everyday items and by countries is the kind of thing you'd like to explore further, there's also loads more detail about it in our free 14-day course.
You can start every Monday and everyone is invited to this party!
Have hope, make progress 💚
For explanations of all the terms in italics with asterisks* check out our Climate Buzzword Dictionary