What countries are the highest emitters of carbon dioxide?
Robert Scholz, Elmo, Missouri
In 2016, the most recent year for which emissions data are available, China led the world in total carbon dioxide emissions, with 9,057 metric tons emitted. The United States was the second greatest polluter, with 4,833 metric tons emitted. India was third, with 2,077 metric tons released. Russia was fourth with 1,439 metric tons and Japan ranked fifth with 1,147 metric tons. Then came Germany, South Korea, Iran, Canada and Saudi Arabia to round out the top 10.
The presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps some of the heat from sunlight received by the Earth from being returned to space, thus giving rise to the “greenhouse effect.” The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has been rising steadily, from 320 parts per million in 1965 to 410 now.