Emissions of greenhouse gases of human origin are the main cause of climate change. Their effects on global warming are devastating and it is becoming more and more urgent that these emissions are reduced to stop humans from exercising so much pressure on the planet. The situation is so critical that the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast an increase in emissions of 130% by 2050 if we continue unabated.
The most polluting countries seem to be aware they must reduce their emissions, but, despite agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, these carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise. To a greater or lesser extent, almost all the world’s countries are responsible for the high level of global pollution, but there are five that stand out from the rest, as shown below:
1. China (30%)
The world’s most populated country has an enormous export market, which has seen its industry grow to become a serious danger to the planet. In just five provinces, which that host most of these industries ,more dioxide is emitted than in any other country in the world. As a consequence, Beijing has experienced, in recent years, constant red alerts for environmental pollution.
2. United States (15%)
The world’s biggest industrial and commercial power. Although in recent times it has led the most important initiatives to combat climate change, in practice the great majority have been shown to be insufficient. Neither are its pollution levels limited to big cities; many rural areas are also beginning to notice the consequences.
3. India (7%)
Fourteen out of the world’s 15 most contaminated cities are in India, says the World Health Organization. The country has had a law protecting air quality since 1981, but the burning of fossil fuels has grown significantly and as a consequence India occupies third place in the ranking of the most polluting countries in the world.
4. Russia (5%)
The biggest country in the world geographically appears in this ranking for its high dependence on products such as oil, coal, gas and fossil fuels. Also, in the past few decades, it has experienced several environmental emergencies and has high levels of deforestation and animal hunting.
5. Japan (4%)
Finally, the other great Asian power after China completes the list. Japan is the biggest consumer of fossil fuels in the world and the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases. This situation is due to its high level of urban development and industry that seems to care little for nature.