06 March 2007

How Much Carbon Dioxide?

How much CO2 does your economy emit?

Everybody knows that the United States is the World Leader in CO2 emissions. We are responsible for about a quarter of the whole world's annual CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. (The top 11 producers [including the EU15 as one] account for about 80% of world emissions.)

But there are other ways of measuring a nation's impact on atmospheric CO2. For example "carbon intensity" is the metric tons of CO2 emitted divided by GDP. The carbon intensity of the U.S. is about half a ton of CO2 per $1000 of GDP (measured in 2000 dollars). Some of the top 11 have higher intensity (China, Russia, South Korea, Iran and Australia) and some have lower (Japan and India are the lowest at about a third of a ton per $1000 GDP, converting their currencies at purchasing power parity.)

map showing CO2 per capita, by country, from http://www.nef.org.uk/energyadvice/co2emissionsctry.htmOr we might compare carbon dioxide emissions per capita. This puts the U.S. back on top, together with Australia and Canada at about 20 metric tons of CO2 per person per year. Japan and Europe produce half as much per person, China 3.6 tons per person, and India only one ton.

These per-capita comparisons are shown graphically above, and here.

Most of these figures were found at the U.S. Energy Information Administration site. The map at Nationmaster is based on data maintained by the World Resources Institute.

List of countries by ratio of GDP to carbon dioxide emissions (the inverse of the carbon/GDP metric discussed above)

These posts are thoughts that have occurred to us here at GCF Associates and Global Climate Fund. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or ideas for future posts.

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