Classroom/Laboratory Activity: Using Introductory Calculus (Integration) to Analyze CO2 Emission Data

A classroom/laboratory activity to analyze CO2 emissions data by using Riemann sums for the calculation of area under the curve.

Students will use calculate and compare CO2 emissions for the U.S. and China, based on emission and population data for the period 1980-2015. They will use Riemann sums to calculate the area under the curve. They will also create a proposal for emission reduction by considering past and current CO2 emissions for the two countries.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Calculate the total CO2 emissions for China from 1980 to 2015 (data records provided in the activity) by using left Riemann sum and right Riemann sum. Compare the two values obtained.
  2. Using Riemann sums, compare the total CO2 emissions (data records provided in the activity) for the U.S. and China from 1980 to 2015.
  3. What are the possible effects of these CO2 emissions on the Earth’s climate?

About the Tool

Tool Name US and China CO2 Emisisons
Discipline Mathematics
Topic(s) in Discipline Integration; Reimann Sums; Area Under Curve
Climate Topic Energy, Economics, and Climate Change
Type of Tool Laboratory Activity
Grade Level High School, Undergraduate
Location Global
Language English
Translation None
Developed by Thomas J. Pfaff, Ithaca College
Hosted at Sustainability Math
Access Online/Offline
Computer Skills Basic


Left-handed and Right-handed Reiman Sums

(Image :

%d bloggers like this: