October 24, 2021

China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Exceeded the Developed World for the First Time in 2019

China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Exceeded the Developed World for the First Time in 2019

China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Exceeded the Developed World for the First Time in 2019

By: Kate Larsen, Hannah Pitt, Mikhail Grant, and Trevor Houser
06 May 2021

In 2019, China’s GHG emissions passed the 14 gigaton threshold for the first time, reaching 14,093 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MMt CO2e) (Figure 2). This represents a more than tripling of 1990 levels, and a 25% increase over the past decade. As a result, China’s share of the 2019 global emissions total of 52 gigatons rose to 27%.

In 2019, China’s emissions not only eclipsed that of the US—the world’s second-largest emitter at 11% of the global total—but also, for the first time, surpassed the emissions of all developed countries combined (Figure 2). When added together, GHG emissions from all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as all 27 EU member states, reached 14,057 MMt CO2e in 2019, about 36 MMt CO2e short of China’s total.

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