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Climate Change

Australia is #1 — New World Leader in Global Warming Emissions

Australia has passed the US as the new world leader in CO2 emissions per capita. That is not the only climate change problem in Australia, though.


Australia now emits about 20.6 tons of CO2 per capita annually. The US is second at about 19.8 tons. China leads the world in total greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s per capita emissions are miniscule in comparison — 4.5 tons. Also, India, another developing nation leading the world in CO2 emissions (4th) and under pressure to curb its emissions only emits 1.16 tons per capita annually. This new information comes from Maplecroft, a world leader in global risk assesments.

Canada is the 3rd highest CO2 culprit (18.8 tons per capita), the Netherlands comes in 4th, and Saudi Arabia 5th.

In addition to being the leading emitter, Australia is also at “extreme risk” of problems due to climate change, according to Maplecroft. Of developed countries, only Belgium and the Netherlands are worse in estimated risk.

In climate change negotiations, especially in Copenhagen in December, these calculations put Australia and other developed nations under greater pressure. Brazil, India, China, and other developing countries with high total carbon emissions but low per capita carbon emissions are arguing, rightfully, that it is the onus of these higher per capita countries to limit and decrease carbon emissions.

Australia may really face more pressure now. Are they ready to tackle climate change and reduce their risk as well as the world’s?

For more on this topic, read:

1) The US is Driving Other National Positions Leading into Copenhagen

2) Future of Global Cooperation on Climate Change: From the US to India and Back

3) United Nations (UN) Shames Rich Nations for Climate Change Funding — Needs to Be About $500-600 Billion Higher

Image Credit 1: stage88 via flickr under a Creative Commons license

Image Credit 2: youngrobv (Rob & Ale) via flickr under a Creative Commons license

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Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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