Friday, May 02, 2008

China's CO2 emissions

USA Today reports that a trio of new studies all conclude that China has become the number one industrial emitter of CO2, ahead of the United States.

The article - and all the other news coverage I've seen - fails to mention the salient point that there are, at last count, 1.323 billion people in China and 304 million people in the US. Per capita, US CO2 emissions remain four times that of China.

Even with the new results, if you ranked countries by their per capita greenhouse gas emissions emissions, China would rank somewhere around 75th, close to the French Guiana and American Samoa. And a substantial fraction of China's emissions are generated while producing stuff for North Americans.

China's greenhouse gas emissions are a serious matter for the climate and for international climate policy. But can we stop pretending that the average person in China is living like the average North American?

2 comments:

Belette said...

"And a substantial fraction of China's emissions are generated while producing stuff for North Americans" - maybe, but the US exports stuff too. We can measure a coutries actual CO2 emissions fairly well. Measuring how much of it went for export, and how much for internal, is sooooooo complicated that you are probably doomed.

EliRabett said...

Not any more.