China’s per-person carbon emissions rival Europe’s, but U.S. is still on top
The average Chinese person’s carbon footprint is now almost on a par with the average European’s, figures released on Wednesday reveal.
… [T]oday’s report by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) show that per capita emissions in China increased by 9% in 2011 to reach 7.2 tonnes per person, only a fraction lower than the EU average of 7.5 tonnes.
But it’s not all the fault of the Chinese:
The figures published on Wednesday — like most official data on carbon emissions — are based on where fossil fuels are burned. A recent UK select committee report argued that it was also important to consider the import and export of goods when considering national responsibility for climate change. This would affect today’s data, because previous studies have suggested that almost a fifth of Chinese emissions are caused by the production of goods for export. [emphasis added]
Not only are U.S. consumers largely responsible for China’s emissions, we’re also still the reigning per-person champs.
The figure for the US is still much higher — at 17.3 tonnes — though total Chinese CO2 emissions are now around 80% higher than those of America. This widening gap reflects a 9% increase in total emissions in China in 2011, driven mainly by rising coal use, compared with a 2% decline in the US.
Where does that coal come from? Much of it comes from the United States.
In a better world, carbon emission would be an Olympic event, assuring us yet another gold. Or I guess maybe a better world wouldn’t have a problem with carbon emissions.