Marshall Islands
Overview of carbon emissions produced by the Marshall Islands
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What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does the Marshall Islands produce?

The Marshall Islands produces 0.01% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 186th largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 1990. Since this date, their annual emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%.

Summary – GHG Emissions in the Marshall Islands

Countrythe Marshall Islands
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$249m
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2019232k
Change in Emissions since 20181.4%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)0.01%
Rank – Emitters in 2019184
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 19904.59m
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19908%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)0.01%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$4.17k
Emissions Per Capita3.9
641ce80f58bfc0740a568fc3 Marshall%2520Islands and ten largest%2520emitters since 1990

In the last recorded year (2019), the Marshall Islands was the world’s 184th largest producer of yearly carbon dioxide emissions and contributed 0.01% 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.

641ce80f58bfc0a23f568fc5 Marshall%2520Islands change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, the Marshall Islands emitted 232k metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented an increase in emissions from 2018 by 1.4%.

Emissions per capita in The Marshall Islands – average household carbon footprint

The population of the Marshall Islands is 59.6k. On a per capita basis, they produce 3.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 119th 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 the Marshall Islands?

In 2019, the Marshall Islands produced 232k metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was an increase of 1.4% from 2018. 77.5% of these emissions came from CO2, 13.7% came from CH4, and 0.3% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the energy industry. Energy produced 180k of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 77.5% of total GHG in the Marshall Islands. The second and third largest emitting sectors were waste and industrial processes- producing 14% and 8.5% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the transportation sector, emitting 106k tonnes of greenhouse gas. The second and third largest emitting sectors were electricity/heat and building – producing 72.6k and 800 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 the Marshall Islands, their LUCF had no impact on their emissions.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in the Marshall Islands in 2019 was 232k metric tonnes.

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

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in the Marshall Islands grew by 8.1% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $222m to $239m. In the same period carbon emissions increased by 1.4%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP grew by 59.9%, while emissions have increased by 35.1%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in the Marshall Islands over the previous ten years was 4.8% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 3.1%.

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