The United States is an awfully wealthy nation, as is the United Kingdom. It shows in our lifestyles and it shows in our carbon dioxide emissions — we are energy rich, not necessarily in production but in consumption.

The BBC recently ran an article (opening paragraphs below) highlighting some research from a development organization, and the numbers tell a stunning yet very real story:

Bristol International Airport produces the same amount of CO2 from flying each year as the African nation of Malawi, an anti-poverty group said.

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The World Development Movement claimed the overall UK-wide growth in aviation was undermining efforts to control climate change.

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Over the years, the Center for American Progress has done some work in this area, focusing on the paradox — the countries that have polluted the most will bear less of the burden from climate change. Meanwhile, countries struggling to develop are set to suffer the most, and are extremely vulnerable to high world oil prices and global energy poverty. Price spikes that some can easily absorb have the ability to wipe out years of debt relief and assistance to Heavily Indebted Poor Countries.

In CAP’s words, we’ve incurred a climate debt that we’re due to balance. Read more here.

This post was created for, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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