CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion: Overview

An essential tool for analysts and policy makers
In this report

In recognition of the fundamental importance of understanding energy related environmental issues, the IEA CO2 Emissions from fuel combustion dataset provide a full analysis of emissions stemming from energy use and have become an essential tool for analysts and policy makers in many international fora. The publication is designed to assist in understanding the fuel specific and sectoral evolution of CO2 emissions associated with combustion of fuels from 1971 to 2018 for over 190 countries and regions. Moreover, 2019 provisional emissions data are included for the OECD countries plus major emerging economies. Emissions were calculated using IEA energy balances and the default methods and emission factors given in the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories.

Data service

COemissions from fuel combustion are affected by a range of drivers, including population growth, GDP and energy supply. CO2 emissions from electricity generation, around 40% of the total, are driven by electricity output, generation efficiency, share and carbon intensity of fossil fuel generation. Explore how these factors have affected emissions across a range of countries and regions in our interactive below:

Explore  for 

Global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion reached a historical high of 33.5 GtCO2 in 2018 driven by a robust growth in population and economic activity, while exhibited a slight decline (less than 1%) in 2019, mainly due the power sector in advanced economies and milder weather conditions across continents.

CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in selected economies, 2000-2019


Similar to the past several years, the emissions growth in 2018 was largely driven by non-OECD countries, led by China and India. Additionally, the United States experienced an increase of over 3%, reversing the declining trend since 2015; while the European Union emissions and Japan continued to decline. Provisional data for 2019 show opposing trends across geographies, with a decline in emissions in advanced economies, including top emitters such as the United States, Germany and Japan; a continued increase in China; and stable levels in India.

Change in CO2 emissions for top emitters, 2018-2019


Power generation (which refers to generation of electricity and heat), together with transport, accounted for over two thirds of total emissions in 2018 and were responsible for almost the entire global growth since 2010. The remaining third was mainly associated with the industry and buildings sectors. Considerable shares of the energy use in buildings took place in OECD countries, while Asia was responsible for the majority of industry consumption.

After allocating electricity and heat emissions across final sectors, industry was the largest emitting sector, accounting for almost 40% of global emissions in 2018, while the buildings and transport sectors corresponded to over a quarter each. The buildings sector used about half of the electricity consumed globally, and industry over 40%. The transport sector, not yet visibly electrified, used less than 2% of global electricity.

Global CO2 emissions by sector, 2018