Where is all this CO2 coming from?

Fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas — produce 80% of our energy. We rely on them every day for our fuel, electricity, and heat. Fossil fuels are also the primary culprit behind global warming: they contribute 76-87% of CO2 emissions annually. Tropical deforestation and other changes in land use like agricultural expansion account for another 9-11 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial processes account for the last bit.



Our civilization practically runs on fossil fuels

What is all that burning of fossil fuel going towards? Lots of things – from buildings to air travel. Sadly, even though we have increased the amount of electricity we make from renewable energy sources over the last decades – this has not kept up with our electricity consumption. The same percentage of our electricity comes from fossil fuels as it did 20 years ago.




The world’s top 10 CO2 emitters

For the purposes of our top 10 list, it might be helpful to look at who is burning all these fossil fuels.


But what about volcanoes?

It’s true! Volcanoes emit CO2. Scientists examined the worst-case emissions scenario from all the active volcanoes, volcanic lakes and underwater volcanoes and came to an estimate of 645 million tons of CO2 per year. Which sounds like a lot – until you compare it to the annual increase of 41 billion. We’re easily contributing 60 times as much carbon dioxide.

“It would take three Mount St. Helens and
one Mount Pinatubo eruption every day to equal the
amount that humanity is presently emitting.”

– Forbes Magazine

Other greenhouse gases

CO2 is not the whole story, of course. Methane and nitrous oxide are also contributing to global warming.