Researchers Find U.S. Responsible for 22% of World’s Global Warming

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
(graphic: Mehrdad Aref-Adib)

Global warming is the product of a century’s worth of greenhouse gas emissions from countries around the world. But one nation in particular has spewed more carbon dioxide, methane and other gases than the rest of the culprits: the United States.


Canadian scientists have determined the U.S. is responsible for 22% of the globe’s recent warming attributed to humankind. This share is far more than the next biggest polluter, China, which has accounted for 9% of temperature changes.


Other nations that helped put too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were Russia (8%), Brazil and India (7%), and Germany and the United Kingdom (5%).


Combined, these countries caused 60% of the manmade global warming between 1906 and 2005, according to researchers at Concordia University in Montreal.

“It was surprising to see some of the less-industrialized countries with such high rankings, but this also reflects their CO2 emissions related to deforestation,” Damon Matthews, lead author of the study (pdf), told New Scientist.


Matthews and his colleagues determined the national contributions to global warming by examining each type of emission and historical data pertaining to their release. The data included carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and changes in land use, such as deforestation, which was why Brazil ranked so high.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The Seven Deadly Sinners Driving Global Warming (by Kate Ravilious, New Scientist)

National Contributions To Observed Global Warming (by H. Damon Matthews, Tanya L. Graham, Serge Keverian, Cassandra Lamontagne, Donny Seto and Trevor J. Smith, Environmental Research Letters) (pdf)

Scientists Claim 95% Certainty that Humans are “Dominant Cause” of Global Warming (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)



anonamouse 10 years ago
Leaving aside the debatable AGW premises implicit in this study, your story fails to mention that US "greenhouse gas" emissions actually FELL from 1992-2012. There was a small uptick last year. Greenhouse gas emissions mirror economic development: US GDP is precisely 22% of global GDP. Here is the good-news story you failed to report: Since 1992, the US economy has grown by about 65%, while emissions have not risen at all.

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