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23 July 2021

How China became the world’s biggest CO2 emitter

China’s annual carbon emissions have risen by 20 per cent since 2010.

By Ben Walker

Saturday (24 July) marks 100 days until the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – or Cop26 – in Glasgow, Scotland.

The world’s scientific community has warned of an irreversible climate breakdown if measures to rein in the world’s CO2 emissions are not committed to, or even sped up, making this a crucial conference. Despite efforts from the UK, EU and US, annual global carbon emissions have continued to rise, with China and India leading the way.

How China became the world’s biggest CO2 emitter
Annual CO2 emissions by country / aggregate

Since 2010, the UK has cut its CO2 emissions output by 28 per cent, the US by 7 per cent and the 27 member states of the EU by 15 per cent.

In China, meanwhile, annual CO2 emissions have risen by 20 per cent, while India’s emissions have surged by 56 per cent.

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Russia, still a significant contributor, has seen its total output rise since 2010 by 4 per cent.