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Asia holds key to CO2 emissions crisis

IbyIMD+ Published 14 June 2021 in Sustainability • 3 min read

The impact of CO2 emissions on climate change is one of the most urgent problems facing the world today, but any solution must focus on Asia. 

Ten Asian countries that we analyzed had 16,320 million tons (Mt) of CO2 emissions in 2019, almost 50% of the 36,441 Mt global total.  As we demonstrate, their economic growth comes at a very high ‘carbon cost’. Any solution to the global problem of CO2 emissions therefore has to be Asia-focused. 

The latest available country data from the International Energy Agency Global Carbon Atlas show that China was by far the biggest emitter of CO2 in 2019, with an emissions total of 10,175 Mt. It was followed by the United States with 5,285 Mt and India with 2,616 Mt. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant decline in global emissions in 2020, but the reduction appears to have been much more modest in China where restrictions occurred early in the year and lockdown measures were more time-limited.  

It is no surprise that the world’s…

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