Fossil fuels contribute to carbon dioxide release and global warming. Deniers of climate change suggest that the heating of the planet is a natural cycle, and it is to some extent. But we know that carbon dioxide can be released into the atmosphere quickly due to human interference.
A good example of this is with trees.
Companies are burning trees at a rapid rate to make room for farm land. The issue is that trees trap carbon dioxide, so when they’re burned down, they release this carbon back into the atmosphere.
Fossil fuels work in much the same way.
So, our actions are causing a reaction. You know the saying “for every action, there is a reaction?” The “reaction” or consequence for industrialization is that there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than in any time in the past 800,000 years.
The release of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since 1854 can be traced back to producing cement and burning fossil fuels. How much have humans contributed to these releases? Approximately 66% of all carbon dioxide and methane released into the atmosphere since 1854 can be traced back to these two activities.
We released 150 times more carbon in 2011 than in 1850.
Which Countries Contribute Most to Global Warming?
As you’ve probably guessed, smaller countries often have a lesser impact on global warming. The biggest contributors to global warming include the world’s most industrialized countries:
China produces the most carbon dioxide in the world. The country doubles the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the United States, and it’s been the largest contributor to climate change since 2006.
Approximately 23% of all CO2 is emitted from China.
If the country keeps its current pace, it will have double the CO2 output by 2040.
The United States may not produce as much carbon dioxide as China, but it’s still a major contributor to the problem. The Obama administration aimed to cut CO2 emissions by 17% by 2020, but the recession led to higher emission levels.
The President-elect, Donald Trump, may quash the Paris Climate deal, too, which would have dire effects on the country.
India is in a unique position because the country doesn’t have a reliable power grid. The country plans to double its coal production to bring electricity to the entire country, and this is a major issue, as it will boost the country’s CO2 emissions.
India has committed to reducing its carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 20% – 25% by 2020.
The Largest Contributors by Share of CO2 Emissions
If you look at the entire share of carbon emissions, there are really two countries which contribute to nearly 40% of all carbon emissions:
- China – 23.43%
- US – 14.69%
Other major contributors to climate change, by share of CO2 emissions, are:
- India – 5.70%
- Russia – 4.87%
- Brazil – 4.17%
- Japan – 3.61%
- Indonesia – 2.31%
- Germany – 2.23%
The rest of the countries make up less than 2% contribution shares to CO2 emissions.
If the Paris Climate Agreement holds, China and the United States will need to make a major push toward reducing their CO2 emissions for it to work.