Accounting for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of nations is essential to understanding their importance to global climate change and help inform the policymaking on global GHG mitigation. Previous studies have made efforts to evaluate direct GHG emissions of nations (a.k.a. production-based accounting method) and GHG emissions caused by the final consumption of nations (a.k.a. consumption-based accounting method), but overlooked downstream GHG emissions enabled by primary inputs of individual nations and sectors (a.k.a. income-based accounting method). Here we show that the income-based accounting method reveals new GHG emission profiles for nations and sectors. The rapid development of mining industries drives income-based GHG emissions of resource-exporting nations (e.g., Australia, Canada, and Russia) during 1995–2009. Moreover, the rapid development of sectors producing basic materials and providing financial intermediation services drives income-based GHG emissions of developing nations (e.g., China, Indonesia, India, and Brazil) during this period. The income-based accounting can support supply side policy decisions and provide additional information for determining GHG emission quotas based on cumulative emissions of nations and designing policies for shared responsibilities.