This group brings together the best thinkers on energy and climate. Join us for smart, insightful posts and conversations about where the energy industry is and where it is going.

Post

New Data On Carbon Emissions Per Capita

To follow up Friday’s post, I put together a chart of per capita emissions, based on the CDIAC’s preliminary 2010 fossil fuel CO2 data and the estimated population. The per capita emissions were calculated using the most up-to-date source of population data I know (Wikipedia!).

The chart includes roughly the top twenty fossil fuel CO2 emitters in the preliminary 2010 data, shown in order from top (China) to bottom. Once again, keep in mind this is preliminary data and does not include other emissions from land use change or emissions of other greenhouse gas emissions.

The chart serves as a reminder that despite large increases in total emissions from fossil fuels over the past several years, countries like India, Indonesia and Brazil still have very low per capita emissions compared to North America. China has become an interesting in between, with per capita emissions still far below that of North America, but rivalling some European countries.

The simple calculation of per capita emissions is potentially misleadings, and raises a number of questions about attribution. If China is manufacturing goods for the North American market, should some of China’s CO2 emissions be attributed to North America? Also, how is energy use and emissions distributed within each country? Is the per capita emissions value skewed by a very unequal distribution of wealth? [I’ll let the Occupy movement tackle that one]

Simon Donner's picture

Thank Simon for the Post!

Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.

Discussions

Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on Nov 9, 2011

I agree, Ed.

Growing human population with growing activity results in a growing carbon cycle. The false premise of this information is the presumed inability to store and cycle carbon.

Since the first civilizations of Sumeria, Egypt, and the Indus Valley land development through irrigation, plant growth and soil carbonization was a goal. The Great Depression in the US saw vast areas of the west become habitable and productive because of capable leadership.

This crowd is unique in history for their lack of understanding of the most basic biology.

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »