Global pollution and the 5 countries that affect it the most

The distribution of responsibility for the climate crisis varies significantly between nations. In a context where carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase, the need arises to identify which countries and economic sectors have the greatest contribution to global atmospheric pollution.

Global pollution

A problem that grows year after year

Every year, huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO₂), the main driver of climate change, are released into the atmosphere. This disproportionate emission, calculated at 36 million tons per year, comes mainly from:

  • use of fossil fuels,
  • non-renewable energy generation
  • polluting human activities.

Stopping this worrying phenomenon has become a global priority; However, the equitable distribution of this responsibility between nations and individuals has sparked constant debate. The disparity in CO₂ production between countries highlights the complexity of the challenge.

Who are the most harmful to global pollution?

According to data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, the largest CO2 emitters are China, the United States and India. During the year 2020, China released 9.9 billion tons, followed by the US with 4.4 billion tons, and India with 2.3 billion tons. These countries show a strong dependence on coal as an energy source, which contributes significantly to their emissions.

Other countries such as Russia, Japan and Iran also appear on the list of emitters, although in smaller quantities. On the other hand, Arab countries such as Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia lead in emissions per capita, relating their highly dependent economy on oil and their low population.

It is important to note that the disproportionate impact of emissions falls disproportionately on the most privileged strata of society. According to the UN, the world's richest 1% emit more greenhouse gases than the poorest 50%, highlighting the need to address equity in the distribution of climate responsibilities.

CO₂ emissions in Europe

Europe, as a region, faces significant challenges regarding its emissions. Germany stands out by emitting approximately a quarter of total emissions into the atmosphere, with much of this contribution coming from its dependence on coal.

The most polluting sectors that contribute to this environmental burden are:

  • Energy: Burning fossil fuels, especially coal, is the main source of energy. It represents around 60% of global CO₂ emissions.
  • The transportation sector emits more than 20% of the total. Air traffic, despite representing only 2% of these emissions, stands out as one of the most polluting means of transport.
  • The textile industry contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, being responsible for approximately 10% of the total.
  • Food production also places a considerable burden on the environment. For example, meat production in developed countries requires enormous amounts of water, approximately 15,000 liters per kilogram, compared to the 1,000-3,000 liters needed to produce one kilogram of rice. This sector contributes almost 10% of global CO₂ emissions,

It is essential to address these sectors comprehensively to reduce CO₂ emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change on the planet.

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