El Salvador
Overview of carbon emissions produced by El Salvador
Last updated:
Loading reading time...

What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does El Salvador produce?

El Salvador produces 0.03% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 133rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 1990. Since this date, their annual emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2%.

Summary – GHG Emissions in El Salvador

CountryEl Salvador
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$28.7bn
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 201913.9m
Change in Emissions since 20187.8%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)0.03%
Rank – Emitters in 2019134
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 1990362m
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19902%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)0.03%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$4.41k
Emissions Per Capita2.1
641ce838a555d7eb7788164c El%2520Salvador and ten largest%2520emitters since 1990

In the last recorded year (2019), El Salvador was the world’s 134th largest producer of yearly carbon dioxide emissions and contributed 0.03% of all global emissions. The top three emitters in the same period were China, the United States, and India. These three nations produced 25.2%, 12%, and 7% of global emissions respectively.

641ce838a555d7bb4f88164d El%2520Salvador change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, El Salvador emitted 13.9m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented an increase in emissions from 2018 by 7.8%.

Emissions per capita in El Salvador – average household carbon footprint

The population of El Salvador is 6.52m. On a per capita basis, they produce 2.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 154th out of 191 on emissions produced per capita. The top three emitters per capita are Solomon Islands, Qatar, and Kuwait.

What is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in El Salvador?

In 2019, El Salvador produced 12.8m metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was an increase of 8.4% from 2018. 60.8% of these emissions came from CO2, 27.1% came from CH4, and 9.1% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the energy industry. Energy produced 7.61m of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 59.3% of total GHG in El Salvador. The second and third largest emitting sectors were agriculture and waste– producing 18.1% and 16.5% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the transportation sector, emitting 3.84m tonnes of greenhouse gas. The second and third largest emitting sectors were manufacturing/construction and electricity/heat – producing 1.6m and 1.2m tonnes of GHG each.

Land Use Change and Forestry

Land use change and forestry (LUCF), such as deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems to agricultural or urban areas, can have a significant impact on carbon emissions.

  • Trees and other vegetation absorb and store carbon through the process of photosynthesis, and when they are cut down or burned, that stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.
  • Deforestation and other forms of land use change can also reduce the ability of ecosystems to absorb and store carbon in the future. Additionally, the conversion of land for agriculture or urban development can lead to the release of carbon stored in the soil.
  • On the other hand, sustainable forestry practices, such as reforestation and afforestation, can help to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in trees and other vegetation.

In the case of El Salvador, their LUCF had a negative impact on their emissions, increasing their footprint by 1.1m tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in El Salvador in 2019 was 13.9m metric tonnes.

Is there a correlation between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth?

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in El Salvador grew by 3.4% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $26bn to $26.9bn. In the same period carbon emissions increased by 7.8%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP grew by 52.8%, while emissions have increased by 3%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in El Salvador over the previous ten years was 4.3% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 0.29%.

Leave a comment