Countries by Carbon Dioxide Emissions per Capita

Guess the countries that emit the most carbon dioxide per capita.
Measured in terms of metric tons of CO2 per person
For the year 2019. Based on this source.
Quiz by kalbahamut
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Last updated: October 14, 2020
First submittedApril 24, 2014
Times taken27,365
Rating3.78
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CO2
Answer
73.9
Palau
37.6
Qatar
23.5
Trinidad and Tobago
23.5
Kuwait
22.8
United Arab Emirates
22.6
Bahrain
22.1
Oman
CO2
Answer
17.9
Saudi Arabia
17.2
Australia
16.2
Brunei
15.8
Luxembourg
15.6
Canada
15.5
United States
15.2
Turkmenistan
CO2
Answer
15.0
Kazakhstan
14.0
Estonia
13.3
Barbados
12.7
South Korea
12.3
Russia
11.6
Iceland
11.6
Taiwan
+2
Level 67
May 2, 2014
Surprised to see Luxembourg on the list. Is there a quiz with the least emission per capita?
+3
Level 80
May 4, 2014
No, but it would be pretty similar to several other quizzes on the site related to low HDI, low life expectancy, low GDP per capita, etc. In other words, mostly African countries and Afghanistan (1. Mali, 2. DRC, 3. Chad, 4. Burundi, 5. Afghanistan). Though Nepal shows up in the top 20 at #11, while not showing up on those other lists. That would be the one mild surprise of the quiz.
+4
Level 55
Apr 2, 2016
Luxembourg is a Tax haven micro state. Many people (including myself) flock there when travelling through Europe for Cheap fuel, oil, alcohol, cigarettes ect. I'm sure most of these emissions are made by French, German, Dutch, and the English rather than the Luxembourgians themselves.
+2
Level 37
Jul 5, 2019
Just a wee tweak - though I guess it doesn't make a lot of difference in the overall picture - it's not a state - it's a Sovereign Country.
+11
Level 80
Jul 5, 2019
State and country are synonyms in most contexts. Using state as a synonym for province or political subdivision is something odd that the USA does; an artifact from the nation's founding when the 13 different colonies that came together were largely autonomous and sovereign, coming together to form a federation.
+3
Level 46
Jun 24, 2016
60% of the Luxembourg labour force does not live in Luxembourg. Instead, they commute from neighbouring cities in Belgium, France, and Germany. So, the economic output generated by these individuals are counted as domestic product for Luxembourg but the people who generate that product don't live in the country and so aren't part of its population when we calculate GDP per capita.Thats why its GDP (on paper) is this high. Probably this also holds for the emission statistics.
+4
Level 78
Jul 13, 2014
The answers all seem random - I couldn't find a pattern to make guessing easier, such as large populations or large numbers of cars.
+11
Level 80
Jul 15, 2014
There are 4 main groups I see with some overlap. There are the large, highly developed, heavily industrialized car-culture countries where most people have cars, use a lot of energy, and frequently drive long distances (USA, Canada, Russia, Australia, to a lesser extent Saudi); there are the small, very urban countries where almost all people live in cities (Qatar, Kuwait, Brunei, UAE, Bahrain, Luxembourg, Estonia, South Korea, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Netherlands); there are oil rich countries that don't give a crap (Qatar, Kuwait, Brunei, UAE, Saudi, Oman, Kazakhstan); and finally tiny island nations that burn a lot of resources comparatively speaking to support their unsustainable population sizes and/or standards of living (Trinidad, Bahrain, Taiwan, Nauru).
+2
Level 80
Feb 2, 2016
With Finland and Turkmenistan showing up after the update this kind of dismantles my previous theory. Finland because... it's cold? And they spend more energy for heating? Turkmenistan... no idea.
+5
Level 57
Apr 2, 2016
I'd say it's a mixture of oil/other natural resource production, not caring about the environment much, industrialisation/manufacturing, being rich, and having a big country. USA fits into 1, maybe 2, maybe 3, 4 and 5. Canada fits into 1, it did fit into 2, I think 3, 4, and 5 definitely. Russia is basically all 5, with slight doubts on 2, 3 and particularly 4. Australia is probably all of them except 3. Saudi Arabia is all 5. Qatar is 1, 2, maybe 3, 4. Kuwait is the same. I think Brunei produces oil or gas... it's 2, possibly 3 (don't know), and 4. etc. There's a few that don't fit into this, for example Finland, so maybe there's something about the islands burning resources to be said, the same way obesity happens, but I'm not sure about it or how to put it down. The above 5 seems to work pretty well, and there's always going to be some outliers.
+1
Level 47
Apr 2, 2016
Motor sport is very popular in Finland, so probably that is why Finland is on the list.
+1
Level 60
Apr 2, 2016
Most things come in and go out of Finland by ship, which could have something to do with it. The average age of Finnish cars is the oldest in Europe; most people have one and a lot of them have a long distance to drive to work, school, etc. The government has been more reluctant to invest in environmentally friendly energy sources than her Nordic neighbours. Then there's the forest industry, metal industry, paper industry, mining, and so on; all fairly big and polluting things.
+3
Level 52
Apr 13, 2016
Turkmenistan is a major oil producing country (the second-biggest of the Soviet Union apparently), that's probably why it's on the list. And having an indoor ice rink in the middle of the desert might explain the hefty energy bill.
+2
Level 57
Aug 1, 2016
The #1 reason why many countries appear on this list is water. Those that do not have freshwater sources have to use desalinated seawater for literally everything. It's a high-energy operation and therefore impact CO2 emissions. Particularly true for the middle eastern countries in there. I'm surprised Israel is not on this list as they are big on desalination.
+1
Level 71
Aug 10, 2017
turkmenistan is rich in natural gas. therefore it has high co2 emission. trinidad is not just a miserable island. it has significant deposits of tar compared to its size.
+5
Level 75
Sep 11, 2018
Don't forget the effect of outsourcing production.

I don't have the numbers but I expect the UK might be on here (and maybe other European countries) if we manufactured our own goods. Instead, we have them made elsewhere and shipped here so that the emissions count towards the country that manufactured them and we can pretend we're a clean country
+1
Level 70
Nov 28, 2018
Trinidad: bitumen
+2
Level 78
Oct 1, 2018
I was going to comment that these answers all seem very random, then I saw that someone already did - me. :)
+1
Level 71
Oct 31, 2014
Interesting! Only minor surprise to me is that Singapore isn't on here.
+3
Level ∞
Jan 31, 2016
Here's the source data: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC

Singapore is actually far down the list. Probably because they don't drive as much and because they get 90% of their electricity from natural gas.

+2
Level 85
Feb 1, 2016
Agree with the reasoning with respect to not driving, but natural gas emits an equivalent amount of CO2 to oil or coal. Countries that get off the hook for power generation emissions are those that use extensive nuclear (France) or wind/solar/hydro power (Germany).
+5
Level ∞
Feb 2, 2016
Your comment made me doubt myself, so I checked:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emission_intensity

Compared to coal, natural gas produces half as much carbon per unit of energy.

+1
Level 82
Aug 9, 2018
its on there now
+2
Level 72
Sep 25, 2019
By official figures, natural gas only emits half as much CO2 per unit of energy as coal. However, it wouldn't take much unburned natural gas leaking into the atmosphere to push its warming contribution higher than that of coal, because natural gas is such a potent greenhouse gas itself. The standard figures do not count possible leakage.
+1
Level 80
Sep 25, 2019
interesting
+1
Level 77
Feb 17, 2016
I thought there would be more micronations on here. But I wasn't that surprised by the results.
+1
Level 80
Apr 2, 2016
+5
Level 62
Apr 2, 2016
Minus the arabic countries, and this is the most random list of nations I have ever seen on any quiz. So strange, countries from six continents, all economies, many populations. Weird.
+1
Level 52
May 13, 2016
Wait... Canada emits more C02 than China? How is that possible?!
+1
Level 52
May 13, 2016
I know it's per capita but still.
+2
Level 80
May 13, 2016
per capita it's quite easy to understand. In absolute terms, it's not even close.
+1
Level 83
Mar 17, 2017
Canada is not exactly full of a huge peasant class using few fossil fuels. China's average is brought way down by this.
+1
Level 52
May 13, 2016
Would've helped to read the populations, I would have gotten several of the countries I missed.
+1
Level 52
Jun 25, 2016
Trinidad and Tobago and Palau :? Wouldn't have expected that.
+1
Level 75
Jul 18, 2016
Interesting quiz, and tough! Thanks for making this.
+1
Level 31
Jul 22, 2016
Really interesting data. I was surprised a lot. This index is usually compared to nation´s GDP i think, so this way it makes completely different view. Quite a lot surprised by Australia, Canada and Finland, always thought they are moving towards more clean energy. Australia might be caused by lack of railways (the truck-trains are quite a well-known) and Canada because of forest harvesting industry? Perhaps? Trinidad and Tobago also got my attention, but what disappoint me most is Czech Republic, my birthplace and home country. We invested quite a lot money to filtration, improvement and modernization of our poor aged lignite power plants (also built some nuclear, wind, solar etc.) and emissions of sulfur oxides reduced by 2-3 times since then, so I thought now we are not as much terrible and found that kinda sad.
+1
Level 80
Jul 22, 2016
Czechia did not appear on the quiz prior to the last update, so whatever's going on there is a recent thing.
+1
Level 31
Jul 22, 2016
I am not aware about any change in recent cca 5 years. Perhaps it is just increased quality of life and higher number of cars (not significantly) and perhaps it is caused because some nation around 20 place reduced the emissions. Anyway interesting. We have what to work on.
+1
Level 66
Jan 29, 2018
You still burn too much coal. Third in Europe (far) after Germany and Poland. But you're just 10 million. Abandon coal generation. Outright. You'll perform better :)
+1
Level 72
Sep 25, 2019
Australia has very high electricity use, and generates 85% of its electricity from coal. They also mine a lot of iron ore, which I suspect is energy-intensive.
+1
Level 65
Nov 8, 2016
This was a toughie. I failed to see any real throughline between the countires that came up or didn't, so I gave up.
+1
Level 80
Nov 8, 2016
I agree it's pretty hard and has gotten harder with the last couple updates, in my opinion.
+1
Level 60
Apr 4, 2017
Wow... That was the most random quiz ever... Apart from gulf countries i saw no pattern at all
+2
Level 70
Apr 30, 2017
What about the Vatican with all those candles burning day and night?
+2
Level 66
Jan 29, 2018
I'm afraid Estonia being on the list because of their foolish OIL SHALE (kerogen) extraction
+1
Level 8
Apr 16, 2018
I'm pretty sure china should be up there, I mean looking up the emissions of china should up there with India at least
+3
Level 80
Apr 16, 2018
China produces more carbon emissions than any other country, but they also have more people than any other country. India isn't on the list, either.
+1
Level 82
Aug 7, 2018
Just the idea of them getting even close to that list is scary. The amount of pollution. Ugh, we'd be doomed.
+2
Level 72
Sep 25, 2019
India's greenhouse gas emissions per capita are actually very low by world standards. Their total emissions are significant despite this, because they have such a huge population.
+2
Level 82
Aug 7, 2018
Netherlands and Luxembourg are both weird as the only two from Western Europe. Neither is especially cold enough and both are really small what comes to distances. So what do they do to cause them emissions?
+1
Level 47
Aug 29, 2018
I was also very surprised to see them, I thought they were pretty ecologist.
+1
Level 67
Jan 5, 2019
Only thing I can think of for the netherlands is how big they are in the shipping industry (especially considering how small the country is) It has the biggest port in europe and from 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port.
+1
Level 81
Aug 7, 2018
I guessed all the wrong -stans :(
+1
Level 72
Aug 10, 2018
Surprised to see Australia. My wife is Australian and they all constantly talk about how green Australia is.
+1
Level 62
May 10, 2020
Australia mines a lot of coal
+1
Level 70
Aug 11, 2018
The problem with these statistics is that it is leaning towards low population and reasonable access to produced goods. e.g. if you had a country of 5 people, who owned 2 cars and had a few electrical appliances etc. you would head this list.
+1
Level 72
Aug 11, 2018
But Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Vatican and Nauru etc are not present.
+1
Level 78
Aug 12, 2018
Not sure what the people wanting a pattern expect you to do with this quiz? Interesting subject I reckon. I plumped for city states and middle east mostly. Didn't do very well mind.
+1
Level 67
Jan 5, 2019
That is like asking you what you expect him to do with the quiz because you didnt do very well. People arent asking to change anything, they are merely stating that they had a tough time recognizing a pattern (because seeing a pattern usually helps a bit with getting more correct answers)
+2
Level 81
Aug 16, 2018
I've never come close to bombing a quiz like this, better than only 9%. Unless, of course, I opened a soccer quiz by accident. Even if I hadn't failed to see "per capita" I doubt I would've cracked 50%.
+1
Level 60
Oct 1, 2018
Can't believe the Netherlands is on here, given how famous they are for windmills
+3
Level 80
Oct 1, 2018
Those windmills mostly run on diesel.
+2
Level 68
Oct 1, 2018
Haha, windmills aren't wind turbines, which shows on this quiz... and as mentioned above, the Netherlands are densely populated. Also, there's not many opportunities for sustainable energy. Wind turbines do not generate a lot of electricity and people don't want to live nearby them. Solar cells also generate less power under the Dutch clouds, and there's no mountain range to build dams. Still, as in every developed country, the change number is green...
+1
Level 67
Jan 5, 2019
Windmills running on diesel hahaha that made me laugh.
+1
Level 66
Oct 1, 2018
Being on this list is sad (or lame). Hopefully Switzerland we aren't here ! But we still have to improve ourselves... Our glaciers aren't well, parts of mountains are slowly collapsing due to permafrost melting, and dry summers like the last one are very bad for our rivers.
+1
Level 46
Oct 1, 2018
This was a good one! Got 17/21, I literally guessed every other island but not Trinidad and Tobago.
+1
Level 45
Oct 2, 2018
I wonder how it's changed now that it's 2018
+1
Level 39
Nov 28, 2018
accept US for united states
+3
Level 80
Nov 29, 2018
Type USA and you'll get it.
+2
Level 83
Oct 14, 2020
I wonder what makes Palau stand out so completely from the other small Pacific island states -- at least SEVEN times as much CO2 per capita? The Pacific island nations all use diesel for electric generation, and don't really manufacture anything. Their fishing fleets are probably similar in energy use.
+1
Level 68
Oct 19, 2020
Actually, I'm more intrigued as to how 27% actually guessed Palau (as of now).