FACT CHECK: Does China Produce 90% Of Global Carbon Emissions?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook more than 900 times claims that China produces 90% of global carbon emissions.

Verdict: False

China, the number one emitter of carbon dioxide, accounts for about 28% of global carbon emissions, according to the 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy report.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post features pictures of Greta Thunberg, a teenage environmental activist, and George Soros, a billionaire Democratic donor. Both have been the subject of misinformation on Facebook in recent months. (RELATED: Does This Picture Show Greta Thunberg With George Soros?)

“Why are we not going to China?” reads a speech bubble near Thunberg.

Another speech bubble near Soros says, “Shut up and stick to the script!”

The post also makes a dubious claim about China’s contribution to the world’s total carbon emissions, with the caption reading, “China produces 90 percent of the world’s carbon emissions pollution! They didn’t go to China because it’s already a communist country!”

While China does lead the world in both carbon and total greenhouse gas emissions, it does not account for 90% of global carbon emissions. The country emitted approximately 9.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, according to the 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy report. That equates to about 27.8% of global carbon emissions.

The same report found that the U.S., the number two emitter, produced roughly 5.1 billion tons of carbon emissions in 2018, or approximately 15.2% of the global 33.9 billion tons. (The International Energy Agency and Global Carbon Project report similar figures.)

Graphic: the DCNF

China surpassed the U.S. as the top emitter in 2005, per the 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy report. It now emits more carbon than both the U.S. and the European Union (EU) combined, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: 5 Claims From Trump’s Climate Change Tweets)

Graphic: the DCNF

“Their economy is growing fast and they use a lot of coal,” David Weisbach, a law professor at the University of Chicago and the co-author of “Climate Change Justice,” said in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Indeed, China’s emissions have rapidly increased over the past two decades as a result of its growing and modernizing economy. In large part, the country meets its increased energy demand by burning coal, according to The New York Times. The Global Carbon Project found that a majority of Chinese carbon emissions come from this method of energy production.

As a signatory of the Paris Agreement, China has pledged that its emissions will peak no later than 2030.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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