Among the first moves of US President Joe Biden has been to recommit to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. He has also signed a series of executive orders designed to address climate change, signalling a marked departure from former President Donald’s Trump’s denial of the same.
This is significant as the United States is the second-largest emitter of CO2, responsible for around 45 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, along with China.
Under the Paris Agreement, 196 countries across the world have committed to taking steps to limit the increase in the average global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The Agreement deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaption and finance. Governments have also submitted comprehensive national climate action plans in order to meet the framework of the Paris Agreement.
However, despite the efforts put in by many countries to switch over to greener energies, the concentration of CO2, a known greenhouse gas, has been increasing.
Human activities such as deforestation, agriculture, excessive fossil fuel burning have all contributed to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
The pandemic and related restrictions eased emissions partly in 2020. The year saw emissions reducing by 6.3 per cent or 2.3 billion tonnes as compared to 2019 levels.
However, with economic activities resuming in most parts of the world, emissions have also increased. The year 2020 tied with 2016 to become the warmest year on record, with cases of extreme warming in Artic and Europe and massive wildfires that destroyed large tracts of forests.
We take a look at the top 10 CO2 emitting countries in the world and what they are doing to mitigate emissions: