Cars, planes, trains: where do CO2 emissions from transport come from?

In the chart here we see global transport emissions in 2018. This data is sourced from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Road travel accounts for three-quarters of transport emissions. Most of this comes from passenger vehicles – cars and buses – which contribute 45.1%. The other 29.4% comes from trucks carrying freight.

Since the entire transport sector accounts for 21% of total emissions, and road transport accounts for three-quarters of transport emissions, road transport accounts for 15% of total CO2 emissions.

Aviation – while it often gets the most attention in discussions on action against climate change – accounts for only 11.6% of transport emissions. It emits just under one billion tonnes of CO2 each year – around 2.5% of total global emissions [we look at the role that air travel plays in climate change in more detail in an upcoming article]. International shipping contributes a similar amount, at 10.6%.

Rail travel and freight emits very little – only 1% of transport emissions. Other transport – which is mainly the movement of materials such as water, oil, and gas via pipelines – is responsible for 2.2%.

Source: Cars, planes, trains: where do CO2 emissions from transport come from? – Our World in Data