Early estimates show that, due to COVID-19, CO2 emissions fell by around 5% in 2020. But this was the result of pandemic-induced measures and restrictions that locked down economic sectors and significantly reduced global economic activity.

In the broader context, new data released from the Global Carbon Project, shows the long run trend. While GDP per capita has nearly tripled since 1960 across the Commonwealth, CO2 emissions has seen a fivefold increase during the same period.

More than half of this increase has occurred during the last three decades, after the first historic Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was published in 1990.

Today, the Commonwealth’s top three emitters – India, Canada and South Africa – account for more than two-thirds of the Commonwealth’s CO2 emissions.

Rankings have change dramatically over time and top emitters include both developed and developing countries alike.