Overview of carbon emissions produced by Nicaragua
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What percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions does Nicaragua produce?

Nicaragua produces 0.08% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 99th largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 1990. Since this date, their annual emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.95%.

Summary – GHG Emissions in Nicaragua

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$14bn
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 201938.4m
Change in Emissions since 20181.4%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)0.08%
Rank – Emitters in 2019102
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 1990993m
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19900.95%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)0.09%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$2.09k
Emissions Per Capita5.7
641ce81db31b766e4facfdc2 Nicaragua and ten largest%2520emitters since 1990

In the last recorded year (2019), Nicaragua was the world’s 102nd largest producer of yearly carbon dioxide emissions and contributed 0.08% 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.

641ce81db31b767618acfdc3 Nicaragua change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, Nicaragua emitted 38.4m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented an increase in emissions from 2018 by 1.4%.

Emissions per capita in Nicaragua – average household carbon footprint

The population of Nicaragua is 6.7m. On a per capita basis, they produce 5.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 86th 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 Nicaragua?

In 2019, Nicaragua produced 18.8m metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was an increase of 2.9% from 2018. 27.9% of these emissions came from CO2, 50.1% came from CH4, and 18.5% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the land-use change and forestry industry. Land-Use Change and Forestry produced 19.6m of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 104% of total GHG in Nicaragua. The second and third largest emitting sectors were agriculture and energy- producing 60.3% and 28.5% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the transportation sector, emitting 2.21m tonnes of greenhouse gas. The second and third largest emitting sectors were electricity/heat and building – producing 1.52m and 975k 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 Nicaragua, their LUCF had a negative impact on their emissions, increasing their footprint by 19.6m tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in Nicaragua in 2019 was 38.4m metric tonnes.

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

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in Nicaragua declined by -3.3% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $13bn to $12.6bn. In the same period carbon emissions increased by 1.4%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP grew by 51.8%, while emissions have increased by 1.3%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in Nicaragua over the previous ten years was 4.3% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 0.13%.

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