May 7, 2024

The “Paris Agreement”, an international treaty on climate change adopted in 2015, has a long-term goal of limiting global warming to less than 2o Celsius above pre-industrial levels (preferably below 1.5oC). The agreement was ratified in 2016 by nearly every country worldwide representing over 98% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). To achieve this goal would require a 45% reduction in GHG emissions below 2010 levels, equivalent to 24,000 million tons  (or 24 billion) of ‘Carbon Dioxide equivalent’. As a side note, Greenhouse Gas Emissions consist of seven direct gases; the majority (about 75%) is Carbon Dioxide (or CO2), 20% Methane (CH4), and just 5% for the remaining five combined – for comparisons purposes, all GHG gases are converted to CO2 equivalent.  In the years since ratification, while many regions are working towards, or even exceeding the climate goal, others have fallen behind such that Incorrys does not expect the ultimate target to be attainable.

Globally, GHG emissions have been growing steadily for many years with the growth rate accelerating since the turn of the century, reaching a record high of over 48,000 million tons (mtpa) of CO2 equivalent in 2019. Despite the 4% decline in 2020, driven mainly by the Covid pandemic, emissions continued the upward trajectory through 2022 peaking at almost 50,000 mtpa of CO2e. Since 1990, global GHG emissions have increased by 50% and are up 10% since the Paris Agreement was ratified.

*Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)

Historically, the United States was the largest emitter of GHGs worldwide increasing from under 6,500 MtCO2e in 1990 to 7,500 Mt in 2007. However, US emissions have been trending downward ever since dropping to under 6,400 Mt in 2022. They actually dropped to just 6000 Mt in 2020 due to the impact of the Covid pandemic but increased in 2021 and 2022. Conversely, China has seen their GHG emissions more than quadruple over the same time span from under 3,000 Mt in 1990 to over 14,000 by 2019, although they did decline slightly in 2022 to 13,800 Mt. With emissions for the US and China going in opposite directions, China surpassed the US as the global leader in 2006 and today, China’s GHG emissions are double the US.

Currently, the 3rd largest GHG emitter is India with emissions more than tripling from about 1000 MTCO2e in 1990 to 3,600 Mt in 2022. Rounding out the top global 4 GHG emitters is Russia who’s GHG emissions declined from 2,800 Mt in 1990 to about 1,500 by 2001. They have since grown to 2,200 Mt in 2022. For interest, Canada’s total GHG emissions have increased from 600 Mt in 1990 to 700 Mt in 2022. Combined, these top 4 emitters have seen their market share climb from 42% of the global total in 1990 to 52% in 2022.

On a % market share basis, the US accounted for over 20% of the total global GHG emissions into the early 2000’s and have since trended downward to just 11% of the global total in 2022. Meanwhile, China has seen its market share increase from under 10% in 1990 to over 28% 10 years ago. Their market share has since declined slightly to 24% in 2022. Of the remaining 2-top 4 emitters, India has seen their share of global GHGs double from 3% in 1990 to 6% in 2022 while Russia’s has declined from 9% to 4% over the same period. Like the US, Canada has seen its market share drop 50% from about 2% of the global total to just over 1%.

The storyline changes somewhat when looking at the global GHG emissions on a “per capita” basis. Qatar leads the world by a considerable margin growing from 30 tCO2e in 1990 to 50 t in 2005 before receding to 38 t in 2022. The US (and Canada) have the next highest GHG emissions per capita averaging from 24 tCO2e to under 19 by 2022.  China has seen its GHG emissions per capita increase from just 2.5 TCO2e in 1990 to almost 10 in 2022.

As mentioned, Incorrys does not expect the world to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement. It is even less likely to occur since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine which brought energy security to the forefront surpassing the need to address climate change.  The result is regions like China and India have recently actually been ramping up the use of high-emitting coal-fired power generation. It has also made obtaining viable information in recent years very challenging due to the political sensitivity around emissions as some countries may deviate from their initial plans and prefer not to disclose their actual emissions to avoid being held accountable.


1.United nations climate change. Available at

2.Organization for economic co-operation and development. Available at 

3.Climate action traker. Available at

4.Climate Watch Historical GHG Emissions ( 1990-2020 ). 2023. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. Available online at: from

5.IEA. 2023. Available at