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

Rwanda produces 0.01% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 152nd largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 1990. Since this date, their annual emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1%.

Summary – GHG Emissions in Rwanda

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$11.1bn
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 20197m
Change in Emissions since 20181.3%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)0.01%
Rank – Emitters in 2019153
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 1990175m
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19901%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)0.02%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$834
Emissions Per Capita0.5
6435daf77854d9bbe92a3cbd Rwanda and ten largest%2520emitters since 1990

In the last recorded year (2019), Rwanda was the world’s 153rd 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.

6435daf77854d941ec2a3ccd Rwanda change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, Rwanda emitted 7m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented an increase in emissions from 2018 by 1.3%.

Emissions per capita in Rwanda – average household carbon footprint

The population of Rwanda is 13.3m. On a per capita basis, they produce 0.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 188th 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 Rwanda?

In 2019, Rwanda produced 5.34m metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was an increase of 1.6% from 2018. 24.9% of these emissions came from CO2, 35.2% came from CH4, and 35.4% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the agriculture industry. Agriculture produced 3.45m of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 64.6% of total GHG in Rwanda. The second and third largest emitting sectors were land-use change and forestry and energy- producing 31% and 22.2% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the fugitive emissions sector, emitting 0 tonnes of greenhouse gas.

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 Rwanda, their LUCF had a negative impact on their emissions, increasing their footprint by 1.65m tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in Rwanda in 2019 was 7m metric tonnes.

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

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in Rwanda grew by 7.4% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $9.64bn to $10.4bn. In the same period carbon emissions increased by 1.3%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP grew by 82.6%, while emissions have increased by 5.7%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in Rwanda over the previous ten years was 6.2% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 0.56%.

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