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Stats IQ: National Contributions to Global Warming

Context: A new research shows how countries have contributed to global warming through their emissions of key greenhouse gases since 1850.

  • It is built on records of historical emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) from the pre-industrial period to 2021.

Contributors to Warming (1850-2021)

  • Individual Nations:
    • The United States ranked 1st among all countries with 0.28°C of rise in temperature.
    • China stood second with 0.20°C of warming.
    • Russia ranked 3rd with 0.10°C of warming.
    • Brazil ranked 4th with 0.08°C of warming.
    • India ranked 5th in the list with a contribution of 0.08 degrees Celsius in warming.
  • Developing countries: The combined contributions to warming from Brazil, South Africa, India and China rose from 17% in 1992 to 23% in 2021.
  • Developed countries: The contribution from the industrialized OECD countries fell slightly from 47% to 40%.
  • Others: Indonesia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada each contributed 0.03-0.05°C of warming.

Greenhouse Gases Emissions

  • CO2 is responsible for 1.11°C of warming compared to methane’s 0.41°C and nitrous oxides 0.08°C.
  • Up to 2021, 69.1% of the total warming caused by the three gases was related to emissions of CO2 alone.
  • UK (CO2 makes up 87.6%% of warming); U.S. (83.3%); Russia (76.1%); Indonesia (71.3%); Brazil (64.7%); China (64.3%).

Fossil Emissions

  • Additional contributions to warming are caused by fossil fuel emissions.
  • Since 1992, the additional warming caused by global fossil fuel emissions over four times greater than the additional warming caused by land use change.

Causes of Warming

  • In half of the world’s countries, the land-use and forestry contribute to all emissions since 1850.
  • The contributions of Brazil, Indonesia and Argentina are dominated by emissions linked to historical deforestation and agricultural expansion since 1850.

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