Preliminary figures suggest that carbon dioxide emissions from operations within the Icelandic economy were 5,244 kilotonnes in 2022 which is an increase of 21.2% from 2021 when they were 4,328 kilotonnes. In 2021, the metal industry was the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, 1,757 kilotonnes. That year, transport by air, maritime transport, fishing and households each discharged around 450 kilotons. Emissions from the metal industry have remained around 1,700 kilotonnes since 2012. Emissions from aviation, on the other hand, appear to have increased from 466 to 1,332 kilotonnes between 2021 and 2022, as there was a boom in flight operations and the arrival of tourists to Iceland during this period.
Carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 2018 (7,663 kilotons), a prominent year of high emissions from aviation (3,568 kilotonnes). Bankruptcy along with transportation restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are the reason why 2021 emissions were at the lowest level since 1995, 466 kilotonnes.
Emissions from road transport in 2021 were 851 kilotonnes, or about 20% of the economy's total emissions. Preliminary figures for 2022 show that emissions were 883 kilotonnes, which is comparable to emissions in 2018. In 2021, emissions from cars operated by households were 471 kilotons, while transport industry, which includes buses, coaches, cars operated by transport operators, produced 96 kilotons. Emissions from other businesses were therefore 284 kilotonnes. This figure does not include emissions from tourist driving in Iceland, which was 59 kilotonnes in 2021, but has peaked at 107 kilotonnes in 2018.
Figures here are only for carbon dioxide emissions, but in addition the emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorine gas have a significant warming effect even though emissions are lower in tonnes. CO2 emissions are primarily due to the use of fossil fuels and coal.
Emissions from Iceland's economy differ from figures published in the Icelandic Climate Accounting Office, published by the Environment Agency and sent to the UN Climate Council. The climate accounting of the economy takes emissions that Icelandic businesses and households pay for wherever the emissions occur. These accounts are thus compatible with other national accounts. The Climate Accounting Office of Iceland, on the other hand, considers emissions that occur within the territory of Iceland regardless of nationality.