CO2 Emission Sources

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CO2 Emission Sources

The top five CO2 emitting industries in the globe are electricity and heat production, transport, manufacturing industries and construction, residential buildings and commercial/public services, and others.


TOP 5 GLOBAL CO2-EMITTING INDUSTRIES

According to the most recent report by the World Bank, the top emitters of CO2 in the world are:
  • Electricity and heat production: This industry has a 49% share of total emission from fuel combustion. This industry produces CO2 emissions as a result of the burning of fossil fuel sources such as coal, natural gas, and oil to generate energy for homes, offices, manufacturing and construction, and others. Coal contributes 43% and natural gas contributes 36%, while oil adds 20% of CO2 emission in this sector.
  • Transport: This industry has a 20.4% share of total emission from fuel combustion. The transport industry is the second sector that generates the most CO2 as a result of the burning of fossil fuels to power vehicles, ships, and airplanes. 72% of the CO2 emitted in this sector is generated by road transports, 14% by marine shipping, and 11% by aviation.
  • Manufacturing industries and construction: This industry has 20.0% share of total emission from fuel combustion. As a result of the combustion of fossil fuels for the operation and process of industries, "the five industry categories of paper, food, petroleum refineries, chemicals and metal/mineral products are responsible for contributing the most CO2." Activities in industries such as the cement industry, where fossil fuels are combusted to generate the heat required to convert limestone to cement, contributes to the emission of CO2.
  • Residential buildings and commercial and public services: This industry has 8.6% share of total emission from fuel combustion. "The main sources of CO2 emission in this sector are electricity consumed, energy used for heating and cooling, refrigeration and so on".
  • Others: This segment contributes 2.0% share of total emission from fuel combustion. This sector includes solid waste disposal, handling and incineration, agriculture, livestock-raising, deforestation, and others which contribute to CO2 emissions around the globe. Activities such as the conversion of forests into agricultural lands reduce the number of trees which can absorb CO2 emissions. Skeptical Science hints that “producing beef releases four times more greenhouse gases than a calorie-equivalent amount of pork, and five times as much as an equivalent amount of poultry.”


RESEARCH STRATEGY:

To identify the top five industries that produce the most CO2 emissions globally, we searched credible global databases representing data from international organizations. We found a pre-compiled list of the top CO2 emitting industries in the world published by the World Bank. Although the most recent data was for 2014, this data by World Bank was repeated on several other sources across the web. We tried to find a more recent chart by searching for credible climate blog posts and expert analyses. However, available data points were either a repetition of the post by the World Bank or a chart of the top greenhouse gas emitting sectors which includes CO2 and other gases. Since the data by World Bank remains relevant, having been referenced by Eco Warrior in 2018 and Our World In Data in 2017, and is specific to CO2, we have provided the 2014 data by the World Bank.
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