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U.S. carbon emissions are improving
How do we compare carbon emissions in places that are very different? Shanghai has a dense population with thick smog. Alaskans produce more carbon per person than Shanghai, but they have much cleaner air.
I believe there are three valid measurements of carbon emissions: by population, by land area, and by the size of the economy. These measures will determine who has cleaner citizens, who has a cleaner country, and who has a cleaner economy.
I selected the 30 nations with the highest total carbon emissions (totaling 82 percent of world carbon emissions). I ranked them by carbon emissions per person, per area, and per GDP. These three rankings were weighted equally and averaged into one composite ranking.
Using this comprehensive measure, the ten worst carbon polluters are (in order): United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Japan. Besides China, who produces over twice as much carbon as the U.S., we don’t hear much in the news about how dirty these other countries are.
The U.S. came out in the middle, at 15th. The E.U. is not a nation, but it would be almost the same as the U.S.
The change in carbon emissions over time is also important. Reports are that the U.S. carbon emissions dropped by 0.4 percent in 2017. China increased by 3.5 percent The world increased by 2 percent. Europe declined, but not as much as the U.S.
President Trump pulled us from the Paris Agreement because he considered the agreement unfair to the U.S. Nevertheless, the U.S. is still leading the way in reducing carbon emissions.
I hope and expect that we will continue to voluntarily reduce our carbon footprint. I also hope that these dirtier nations will feel motivated to clean up.
Wonderful letter Mark! Thank you for the time and energy spent to inform! As we strive to cut our pollution, we should all turn our focus towards other countries and get the top polluters to alter their circumstances for the betterment of our world! Thank you again!
Yes, well thought out scenarios. By population, those samples would come from New York City. It is the most densely populated area. A lot of carbon monoxide poisoning. Taking surveys from them regarding environmental health concerns would be optimal. More input on traffic, smog, clean water, clean air, etc. The truth is Hawai’i’s population is too small to be counted as a sample in world population sampling and concerns.
What, Mark…so now carbon dioxide it dirty? You might remind the plant world of that, they’d die without it.
Good point RG. “Dirty” is all a matter of perspective. Plants also love animal manure. But most people consider manure as dirty.
I doubt the projections of temperature rises from carbon are very accurate. Also, if carbon does cause that much warming, it may help us avoid the next ice age, so it may not be bad anyway. However, there is still a risk and there may be other dangers of higher carbon dioxide levels that we are not even aware of. I think it is good to be on the safe side and try to reduce carbon emissions. Also, I think the falling cost of solar PV panels will allow us a voluntary and economical way to reduce our carbon emissions.
Mr. DeSoto: Too much of a good thing, you know. CO2 emissions stick around and act like a blanket that warms the earth. The plants like the CO2, but not if they get too warm and die.
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