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Simon Evans

Simon Evans

16.12.2015 | 1:37pm
Global emissionsInteractive map: Historical emissions around the world
GLOBAL EMISSIONS | December 16. 2015. 13:37
Interactive map: Historical emissions around the world

Which country is most responsible for climate change? It’s a big question, with weighty consequences for decisions on who should take the lead in tackling the rise in emissions.

Finding a way to recognise different responsibilities between developed and developing countries was one of the keys to unlocking the historic Paris Agreement, sealed late last Saturday.

To shed a bit more light on historical responsibility for emissions, Aurélien Saussay, an economist at the French Economic Observatory, has put together the interactive map above.

It combines year-by-year CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement with gridded population data (laid out on a map). You can read Saussay’s  methodology by following the tab in the interactive.

Here’s a timelapse video by Saussay showing where emissions have come from historically, and how cumulative emissions have built up over time.

The emissions data comes from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). It excludes other greenhouse gases and emissions associated with land-use change and forestry.

It’s also worth noting that the data coverage varies by country. It goes back all the way to 1751 for the UK, with Germany from 1792, the US from 1800, India from 1858 and China only from 1899.

The gridded population data is from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).

Main image: Interactive: Global Historical Emissions Map preview. Credit: Saussay (2015)/CartoDB.
Sharelines from this story
  • Interactive map: Historical emissions around the world
  • Nishioka Yoshio

    Thaaanks! Nice databases! I share!
    One of important key is making Zero Deforestation by 2030! or not! The another keys are increasing renewable energy, stopping coal and nuclear energy and REDD projects for community base or not, and don’t making many fires especially stopping the big making carbon emission of peatlands forests especially Sg Putri Peatlands Forests, in habitable Orangutan per ha/population at World No1. We and many NGOs take research and conservations! Sg. Putri Peatlands Forests area has about 400 millions ton of carbon emission above ground by scientist’s databases!
    Badman Nishioka/Japan/HUTAN Group/rainforest action group/
    We will research again and bring the fires good to going to Indonesia on January!

    • jmj

      It’s very interesting to compare one major, long-industrialised country, France, with others like the UK or Germany. Why does France emit so much less CO2? The answer is, of course, its massive development of nuclear energy in the last couple of decades of the 20th century. So, despite the huge investments in solar and wind by Germany, it is burning even more coal (to make up for closing down nuclear) and producing twice as much CO2. France is decades ahead with low-carbon electricity generation. And French consumers pay half the price Germans do for their electricity.

  • daninmo

    I Love that there is only one comment. Green Science and CO2 emissions is an example of Junk science. It goes something like this. We know CO2 emissions have grown dramatically and that has to do something bad to the world at large, because it is ugly and pollutes… So therefore lets determine what bad will come from this increase…That may sound OK, but it is not “scientific” and does not even use modern critical thinking tools that help us define the right problem to solve. We really should start with a neutral opinion of carbon and do a risk assessment on all the ways the world could die. Then we would at least be able to direct resources to something scientific…

  • Betawelder

    CO2 doesn’t cause warming, warming causes CO2. It’s called Henry s Law as it gets warmer the oceans out gas CO2. Bottom line no matter where the CO2 comes from it drives nothing. So lets stop punishing the poor and what’s left of the Middle Class and stop the Chicken Little Fraud. There is already to much Gov. control.

  • Ghostmaker

    Why such old statistics? All that money spent and your in 2010?

  • Ovidiu Borchin

    This map is a bullshit !

    It has one goal, to manipulate the public opinion !

    I in my living area there are placed many such pollution points, that are fake !

    Even a child can make such a map, because you no need to have many schools to put some dots on a picture. There are no connections between each points and a list of pollutants factories !

    You are pathetic !


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