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Climate Change

Published on September 15th, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan


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

September 15th, 2009 by  

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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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. 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, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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