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

Sierra Leone produces 0.02% of global emissions, and has been ranked the world’s 146th 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 Sierra Leone

CountrySierra Leone
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in USD$4.2bn
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 20199.45m
Change in Emissions since 2018-2.7%
Percentage of Total Emissions (2019)0.02%
Rank – Emitters in 2019146
Total Greenhouse Gas Emissions since 1990242m
Compound Annual Growth – Emissions since 19901%
Percentage of Total Emissions (1990-2019)0.02%
GDP Per Capita (USD)$516
Emissions Per Capita1.2
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In the last recorded year (2019), Sierra Leone was the world’s 146th largest producer of yearly carbon dioxide emissions and contributed 0.02% 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.

641ce83766d822010992e3f7 Sierra%2520Leone change in emissions 1990 to present

In 2019, Sierra Leone emitted 9.45m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO₂e. This represented a decrease in emissions from 2018 by -2.7%.

Emissions per capita in Sierra Leone – average household carbon footprint

The population of Sierra Leone is 8.14m. On a per capita basis, they produce 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per person. This places them 178th 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 Sierra Leone?

In 2019, Sierra Leone produced 6.08m metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This was a reduction of -4.2% from 2018. 14.8% of these emissions came from CO2, 61.1% came from CH4, and 21.3% came from N2O.

The sector that produced the most emissions in 2019 was the agriculture industry. Agriculture produced 3.55m of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounted to 58.5% of total GHG in Sierra Leone. The second and third largest emitting sectors were land-use change and forestry and waste– producing 55.6% and 23.9% of total GHG respectively.


The industry that produced the most energy related emissions was the transportation sector, emitting 449k tonnes of greenhouse gas. The second and third largest emitting sectors were other fuel combustion and manufacturing/construction – producing 285k and 99.5k 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 Sierra Leone, their LUCF had a negative impact on their emissions, increasing their footprint by 3.38m tonnes.

After accounting for land use change and forestry, the total amount of greenhouse emissions in Sierra Leone in 2019 was 9.45m metric tonnes.

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

In 2019, gross domestic product (GDP) in Sierra Leone declined by -0.21% from the previous year. Measured in US dollars, the economy went from $4.09bn to $4.08bn. In the same period carbon emissions decreased by -2.7%. Over a ten year period from 2009 to 2019, GDP grew by 66.1%, while emissions have increased by 12%.

To put this into context, the compound annual growth rate of GDP in Sierra Leone over the previous ten years was 5.2% and the CAGR for greenhouse gas emissions was 1.1%.

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