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

What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does Japan produce?

Japan produces 2.4% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 7th largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 1990. Since this date, their annual emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.09%.

Summary – GHG Emissions in Japan

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$4.94tr
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 20191.13bn
Change in Emissions since 2018-3.2%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)2.4%
Rank – Emitters in 20197
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 199035.5bn
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19900.09%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)3.1%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$39.3k
Emissions Per Capita9.0
6435dab93813ad0efd36834b Japan and ten largest%2520emitters since 1990

In the last recorded year (2019), Japan was the world’s 7th largest producer of yearly carbon dioxide emissions and contributed 2.4% 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.

6435dab93813ad30f436834c Japan change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, Japan emitted 1.13bn metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented a decrease in emissions from 2018 by -3.2%.

Emissions per capita in Japan – average household carbon footprint

The population of Japan is 126m. On a per capita basis, they produce 9.0 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 46th 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 Japan?

In 2019, Japan produced 1.17bn metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was a reduction of -3.1% from 2018. 92.7% of these emissions came from CO2, 2.3% came from CH4, and 1.6% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the energy industry. Energy produced 1.07bn of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 91.9% of total GHG in Japan. The second and third largest emitting sectors were industrial processes and bunker fuels- producing 5.6% and 2.9% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the electricity/heat sector, emitting 545m tonnes of greenhouse gas. The second and third largest emitting sectors were transportation and manufacturing/construction – producing 206m and 190m 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 Japan, their LUCF had a positive impact on their emissions, reducing their footprint by 32.1m tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in Japan in 2019 was 1.13bn metric tonnes.

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

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in Japan grew by 1.7% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $5.04tr to $5.12tr. In the same period carbon emissions decreased by -3.2%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP declined by -3.1%, while emissions have increased by 5.2%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in Japan over the previous ten years was -0.32% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 0.51%.

Leave a comment