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Facts Matter

How global carbon emissions changed over time

The issue

With all this talk about whether Trump will pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, the most aggressive agreement among nearly 200 nations to curb carbon emissions, let's put the U.S. contributions to carbon emissions in context.

The Facts

Turns out that as a portion of total global carbon emissions, the U.S. is not currently contributing the most of any country — China is. Even though the U.S. isn't the top contributor, global emissions have been steadily rising over time, although note the recent plateau.

Data: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters

Even though the U.S. emits much less than China, it is still an influential force in holding other countries that emit much less, and much more, accountable. That influence is part of what's at stake as the U.S. decides whether to stay in the agreement. If Trump stays in the accord, it doesn't necessarily mean the emissions from the U.S. won't spike, as Axios' Amy Harder points out.