Some say the West, above all the United States and Europe, is the main culprit behind the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Others say we should look at India, China and the rest of the Far East if we want to see who is emitting the most carbon and at the highest rate of increase. So, who’s right? In a way, they both are. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest report clears things up a little. Since 1974 this international organisation has been studying how energy is produced, distributed and used around the world.
In 2019, the report says, global emissions settled at 33 billion metric tonnes (Gt) of CO2 – in line with the previous year's results – and between 2016 and 2017 they grew from 32.2 Gt to 32.7 Gt. If you look at the data you’ll see that in the last 50 years America and Europe have emitted the most CO2 and produced the most hydrocarbons.