Research Outline

CO2 Emission- Top Industries


Identify the major industries and sectors responsible for the emission of CO2 gases both in the US and globally to help inform your business decisions.

Early Findings

Preliminary research indicates there are lots of publicly available information on the top industries and sectors responsible for the emission of CO2 both in the US and globally. Our initial research uncovered the following insights and stats:

CO2 Emissions by Sector

  • According to the IEA, the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion were 32.31 GtCO2, and the US is the second-largest producer of CO2 behind China.
  • Globally, electricity and heat generation is the largest emitting sector accounting for about 42% of all emissions. When this figure is put into perspective of what is being powered with the electricity produced, the industry sector accounts for the majority at 36%, followed by buildings at 27% percent, transport at 25% while all other sectors account for the rest (12%).
  • In the US, the transportation sector is the largest producer of CO2, producing about a third (28.9%) of all greenhouse gas emissions annually. This is closely followed by electricity generation at 27.5%; the industry sector at 22.2%; commercial and residential emissions at 11.6%; agricultural emissions at 9.0%; while land use and forestry stand at 11.1%.

Relationship Between Energy Type and CO2 Emissions

  • According to the EIA, the amount of CO2 emitted by burning a certain type of fuel depends on the carbon content of the fuel. This means that carbon-rich fuel such as coal produces almost twice as much CO2 compared to the result obtained by burning natural gas of equal quantity.
  • In the US, 29% of energy is generated by burning natural gas, which produces an almost equal proportion of CO2 emissions per annum (29% of all energy emissions).
  • Coal accounts for about 14% of the energy produced in the US but is responsible for about 26% of all C02 emissions in the country.
  • Petroleum is the most significant contributor to CO2 emissions, accounting for 45% of all emissions in the country.