10 Worst Countries for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Since 1990

World leaders (with the notable exception of key players Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia) are currently attending the COP26 climate summit in Scotland.

Burning oil, gas and coal releases greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which warm Earth. In 2015's Paris Agreement, leaders committed to keep global warming "well below" 2C—aiming for 1.5C—to avoid climate disaster. But the world is not on track.

According to the August 9 IPCC report which represents the global scientific consensus on global warming, "stabilising the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions."

Net zero means not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

A key aim of the COP26 conference is to "secure global net zero by mid-century [2050] and keep 1.5 degrees within reach."

Policy forum Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tracks each country on eight greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

Not all countries provide data each year. The list below has been compiled by taking the an average of the amount of greenhouse gas each country has pumped into the atmosphere every year since 1990.

10. United Kingdom

655,430,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent) a year

U.K
A chimney is seen emitting steam on Cheshire, England. The world's population is more environmentally aware now than ever with emissions being cut and rubbish recycling at it's highest. However experts have announced that current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years. Getty Images/Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The U.K. set ambitious 2030 and 2035 targets that, if achieved, would put it on track to achieve its 2050 net zero target.

However, scientific analysers at Climate Action Tracker, an organization that monitors climate policy, has warned there is "a large gap between the U.K's ambitions and its present level of action."

Its U.K. policy profile notes: "Under current policies, the UK is expected to reach only 54-56% below 1990 levels (excl. LULUCF), far from on track to achieve its recently updated NDC and underscoring the scale of new policies needed."

9. Canada

700,292,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

Canada
View of the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta Province, Canada on October 25, 2009. Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

Canada's climate target, policies and finance has been categorized as "highly insufficient" by Climate Action Tracker.

It reports that Canada is not meeting its "fair-share contributions to climate change" and should strengthen targets and policies, as well as provide more support to other nations.

International Energy Agency, a respected climate watchdog, reports that Canada emitted 5711 mega tons of CO2 alone in 2019—a 39 percent increase on 1990 levels.

8. Brazil

790,334,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

Brazil
Aerial view of a fire in the Amazonia rainforest in the surroundings of the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on September 15, 2021. - World leaders reunited in Glasgow for the COP26 on November 2, 2021 issued a multibillion-dollar pledge to end deforestation by 2030, a promise met with scepticism by environmental groups who say more urgent action is needed to save the planet's lungs. Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

Brazil's climate targets and policies have also been dubbed "highly insufficient" by Climate Action Tracker.

According to IEA metric calculations, Brazil emitted 410.99 Mt of CO2 in 2019—up 122 percent from 1990 emission levels.

Most of Brazil's emissions come from land use changes and deforestation.

7. Germany

1,013,030,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

Eleven years ago, Germany initiated the Energiewende, a plan to make its energy system more efficient and supplied mainly by renewable energy sources. Under the plan, half of all electricity supply will come from renewable energy sources and coal use will be phased out by 2038.

In September 2021, however, Russian energy company Gazprom completed a five year project to construct a natural gas pipeline, called Nord Stream 2, from Russia to Germany, doubling Moscow's gas exports to Germany.a

According to IEA, Germany also plans to phase-out nuclear power by 2022. IEA data shows Germany emitted 644.11 Mt of CO2 in 2019—a 31 percent decrease from 1990.

6. Japan

1,334,071,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

Japan
Smoke rises from chimneys at factories on November 30, 2019 in Kamisu, Ibaraki, Japan. Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images/Getty Images

Climate Action Tracker rates Japan's climate targets, policies and finance as "insufficient," and suggests that the country needs substantial improvements to be consistent with the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature limit.

According to IEA, Japan emitted 1056.19 Mt of CO2 in 2019—an increase of 0.41 percent from 1990 levels.

5. Indonesia

1,623,505,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

Indonesia
A view of palm oil plantation in Pelalawan district on July 12, 2014 in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia. According to Greenpeace, the destruction of forests is driven by the expansion of palm oil and pulp & paper has increased the greenhouse gas emissions, pushing animals such as sumatran tigers to the brink of extinction, and local communities to lose their source of life. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images/Getty Images

Indonesia is the world's fourth-largest producer of coal and Southeast Asia's biggest gas supplier. It is also the largest producer of biofuels worldwide.

Carbon Brief, a British website focused on climate policy, reported that 'deforestation and "peatland megafires" play a significant part in Indonesia's emissions.

IEA data shows that Indonesia emitted 583.41 Mt of CO2 in 2019—a more than three-fold rise on 1990 levels.

Indonesia has signed a COP26 agreement to end and reverse its deforestation by 2030.

4. India

1,919,572,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

India
In this picture taken on October 14, 2021, trucks loaded with coal travel down a road at the Jharia coalfield in Dhanbad in India's Jharkhand state. - Asia-Pacific accounts for about three-quarters of global coal consumption -- even as the region struggles with the environmental and public health impacts of global warming, from deadly levels of air pollution in India to extreme heatwaves and wildfires in Australia. Photo by GAUTAM DEY/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images

India is responsible for 6.84 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to recent Financial Times analysis, with 80 percent of its electricity generated by fossil fuels.

Data from IEA, shows that India emitted 2310 Mt of CO2 in 2019—a 335 percent rise on 1990 levels.

Climate Action Tracker rates India's climate targets and policies as "highly insufficient" insisting the country needs to "curb its expected growth in emissions from its dependency on fossil fuels."

3. Russia

2,106,040,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

Russia's total greenhouse gas emissions have dropped since 1990, but are estimated to represent 4.07 percent of the global total.

Climate Action Tracker rates Russia's climate targets, policies and finance as "critically insufficient". Its analysts warn: "Under current policies, Russia's economy-wide emissions are expected to either flatline or continue rising to 2030, when they should be rapidly declining, especially for such a large emitter."

2. United States

6,906,367,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

U.S.
Vehicles move along the The New Jersey Turnpike Way while a Factory emits smoke on November 17, 2017 in Carteret, New Jersey. The United States is still contributing to the global greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images/Getty Images

The U.S. is thought to contribute more than 10 percent of global carbon emissions. On average, each American is responsible for 15 tonnes a year, more than double the footprint of the average Chinese citizen.

President Joe Biden has pledged to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least half rom 2005 levels by 2030. He is also cracking down on methane pollution which, according to the FT, accounts for about 10 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. "but has more than 80 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period."

IEA data shows the States, emitted 4,744 Mt of CO2 in 2019—down 1 percent on 1990.

1. China

9,362,382,000 (tons of CO2 equivalent)

China
In 2008 China officially became the worlds largest emitter of C02 (greenhouse gases), largely driven by its ever increasing demand for energy most of which is met by producing electricity from coal fired power stations. A large part of China's carbon footprint is the construction industry. In most cities they are tearing down the old slums and replacing them with modern high rise apartment blocks. As they ever increasigly wealthy chinese families move into them their energy consumtion rises as they purchase TV's, fridge's, freezers, etc all of which consume energy. Suihua, Heilongjiang province. Photo by Ashley Cooper/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images/Getty Images

China's CO2 emissions have increased dramatically since the 1990s.

International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that China emitted 9,876 Mt of CO2 in 2019—a 372 percent increase on 1990 emission levels.

About 70 percent of China's electricity was produced from non-renewable or nuclear fuels, with renewables producing 26 percent, and nuclear 4 percent.