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December 7, 2009
Greenhouse gas emissions soaring around the globe

As part of its coverage of this week’s Copenhagen climate change summit, the Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published an interactive graphic depicting emissions.

Below are four different maps showing global emissions totals. All data graphics are by Stephen Rountree.

Current Emissions (millions of tons): Rapidly-growing China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s top contributor of greenhouse gases. Manufacturers in the U.S. are pressuring Congress not to commit to emissions cuts — thus forestalling higher energy costs in the future.

Per Capita Emissions (tons per person): Compared to industrialized countries, less developed nations contribute relatively little to global emissions. But some developing countries such as India, with the world’s second highest population and rapid economic growth, could see sharp per-person emissions increases.

Cumulative Emissions (millions of tons): Using totals from the mid-19th century up to the present day, the U.S. and E.U. far surpass other countries in their historical contribution to global warming. The original 1992 UN climate change convention in Rio de Janeiro, which paved the way for the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, called for developed nations to take the lead in cutting emissions.

Emissions Intensity (tons per million dollars of GDP): In many developed countries, increased energy efficiency has resulted in a reduction of greenhouse gas intensity (emissions per unit of gross domestic product). China is pledging to cut its energy intensity but will need to take even more drastic action to prevent disproportionate contributions to future global warming.

– Ben Piven

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[…] According to the U.S. News and World Report, China also provides almost 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare-earth materials, which are used in many electronics and may be the future of clean technologies. China is also the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter. […]


for those who are interested in actual (not junk) science, read more about ‘global warming’ at: wattsupwiththatd0tc0m


The US needs a rational energy policy that relies on a mixture of nuclear, natural gas, solar, and wind power. Dirty coal and its high CO2 emission must be de-emphasized and all subsidies removed. Solar and wind power should be subsidised similar to the German model.


It is the totals, not the per capita figure, that we have to be concerned about.

After all: it is the cumulative total that determines what will happen with the climate. And that cumulative total is dangerously high.

But the only control we have over the cumulative total is via the first figure, the current emissions. This is what must be cut and cut drastically.

We must turn a deaf ear to all those evil voices that murmur “it costs too much” or “we don’t have to cut because our per capita figure is better than yours” — or any of the several similar wicked excuses we have been hearing lately.

The price we fail to pay now will be paid a thousand times greater by our grandchildren as farmland dries up and prairies turn into desert.

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