Top 7 Most Polluting Industries in 2022


Posted 1 year ago

Looking back over the past few years can feel a bit overwhelming. Countries around the world have declared a climate emergency, plastic pollution is at an all-time high, we’ve seen the hottest years on record, and more animals have reached extinction.

Ultimately, we’ve seen the impact of our consumerism skyrocket to new levels, even during this recession.

Although this paints quite a bleak picture, it’s not all bad. The past decade has also seen much of the world wake up to climate change – with some governments actually trying to do something about it now. We’ve seen an ever-growing use of renewable energy, climate strikes beyond belief, and the lowest use of coal in some countries since records began.

But there are still a number of major industries that are continuing to damage the environment. Read on to find out which ones are polluting the world the most, and what we can do about it.

The Eco Experts have researched and launched their studies!

Combining insights from various industry reports, the new research focuses on how seven industries – including Energy, Transport, Manufacturing/Construction – are contributing to air, water, and soil pollution, which cause the most harm to humans. The industries are ordered on how much they contribute to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Here’s the Top 7 Polluters by Industry with GHG emissions and key insights:

1. Energy (Electricity and Heating): 15.83 billion tonnes of GHG emissions per year.

Key stat: Coal contributes the most CO2e of any fossil fuel at 13,980,000,000 Tonnes a year. Oil: 11,070,000,000 tonnes, Gas: 7,400,000,000 tonnes.  

2. Transport: 8.43 billion tonnes of GHG emissions per year.

Key stat: Road transport contributes to 74.5% of all CO2 emissions in the transport industry.

3. Manufacturing and construction: 6.3 billion tonnes of GHG emissions per year.

Key stat: Responsible for 50% of all natural resource extraction worldwide, accounting for one-sixth of global freshwater consumption, one-quarter of wood consumption, and one-quarter of global waste.

4. Agriculture: 5.79 billion tonnes of GHG emissions per year.

Key stat: Agriculture is directly responsible for up to 8.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions, with a further 14.5% coming from land-use change (mainly deforestation used to clear land for food production).

5. Food retail: 3.1 billion tonnes of GHG emissions per year.

Key stat: Global food miles are generating 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year. Food transportation is responsible for 25% of all miles covered by heavy goods traffic in the UK.

6. Fashion: 2.1 billion tonnes of GHG emissions per year.

Key stat: The fashion industry emits about the same amount of greenhouse gases per year as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.

7. Technology: 1.02 billion tonnes of GHG emissions per year. 

Key stat: There are around 30 billion internet-connected devices in the world. It’s estimated that the IT industry could use 20% of all electricity produced by 2025, emitting up to 5.5% of the world’s carbon emissions.

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