The World’s Biggest Polluters

3 min readFeb 1, 2023

The United States has long been the world’s leading greenhouse gas emitter, but China has surged to the top of the rankings in recent years. In 2012, China pumped 9.8 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is now fighting to eliminate its CO2 emissions by 2030.

As the global climate continues to change, the biggest polluters will have to reduce their emissions. This is especially true for countries such as China, India, Russia, and Iran. These nations are responsible for 70 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. While the United States has been at the top of the rankings for more than 160 years, it’s important to remember that not all countries are equally responsible for the global carbon crisis.

Fortunately, some of the world’s largest polluters are working to minimize their impact. RWE is a multinational company that operates several huge power stations in Europe. In 2019, its power stations emitted 12.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, ExxonMobil’s Baytown refinery ranked in both lists, producing over 10 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019.

Another major player on the list of the world’s biggest polluters is the apparel industry. In 2018, the industry accounted for one fifth of all industrial water pollution. And with more than 20,000 chemicals used in the industry, governments are struggling to keep up.

Power plants, however, are still the source of the most CO2 pollution. Among the ten largest power plant polluters in the US, the two largest are in Texas. Together, these plants produced twice as much CO2 as the next-highest-polluting states.

Other big polluters include the apparel industry, fashion and automotive industries. However, the report points out that the majority of these companies have lowered their emissions over the past few years.

The largest polluters in the EU are all coal-fired power plants. The Belchatow lignite plant in Poland is the largest thermal power station in the country and the third-largest in the European Union. In 2021, it emitted 33.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Of the top 100 facilities for toxic air emissions, only eight are still operating. However, these eight are responsible for more than 270 million pounds of chemical releases in 2014. A few of these facilities are in Texas, where the owner of a power plant is a member of the elite “dirty club.”

One of the main reasons that these plants are so large is that the owners of these sites generate large amounts of profits. In 2014, the owners of 22 facilities reported more than $58 billion in profits.

While many of these facilities are located in states such as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, the largest polluters are also in Germany and Poland. Three of the top five polluters are in the EU, whereas Russia, India, and the United States are among the worst countries.

While the apparel industry is among the top-five global polluters, it’s important to note that a majority of the 30,000 chemicals used by these factories are carcinogenic. These chemicals are linked to respiratory disease, brain damage, and other organ damage. Moreover, these pollutants can reach people hundreds of miles away from the plant.