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

Saudi Arabia produces 1.5% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 16th largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 1990. Since this date, their annual emissions have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.9%.

Summary – GHG Emissions in Saudi Arabia

CountrySaudi Arabia
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$834bn
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2019723m
Change in Emissions since 20181.1%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)1.5%
Rank – Emitters in 201910
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 199014bn
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19903.9%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)1.2%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$23.6k
Emissions Per Capita20.5
641ce832363c88774fd15560 Saudi%2520Arabia and ten largest%2520emitters since 1990

In the last recorded year (2019), Saudi Arabia was the world’s 10th largest producer of yearly carbon dioxide emissions and contributed 1.5% 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.

641ce832363c884402d155b4 Saudi%2520Arabia change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, Saudi Arabia emitted 723m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented an increase in emissions from 2018 by 1.1%.

Emissions per capita in Saudi Arabia – average household carbon footprint

The population of Saudi Arabia is 35.3m. On a per capita basis, they produce 20.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 13th 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 Saudi Arabia?

In 2019, Saudi Arabia produced 723m metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was an increase of 1.1% from 2018. 72.4% of these emissions came from CO2, 15.2% came from CH4, and 1.1% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the energy industry. Energy produced 582m of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 80.5% of total GHG in Saudi Arabia. The second and third largest emitting sectors were industrial processes and waste– producing 14.6% and 4% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the electricity/heat sector, emitting 263m tonnes of greenhouse gas. The second and third largest emitting sectors were transportation and manufacturing/construction – producing 140m and 91.6m 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 Saudi Arabia, their LUCF had no impact on their emissions.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in Saudi Arabia in 2019 was 723m metric tonnes.

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

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in Saudi Arabia declined by -1.6% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $817bn to $804bn. In the same period carbon emissions increased by 1.1%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP grew by 87.3%, while emissions have increased by 38%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in Saudi Arabia over the previous ten years was 6.5% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 3.3%.

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