Even excluding export Chinese emissions are now higher than US – in absolute numbers non-western consumers emit most CO2

Today we learned the West has outsourced 16 percent of carbon emissions to emerging economies. But that’s just one third of the story.

rising carbon emissions from emerging economies
Another third is economic growth, leading to improved living standards – thus more consumption. And of course everywhere except Europe there is population growth – so more consumers.

One of the researchers of Norwegian CICERO and lead author of the carbon emissions study in Nature Climate Change we reported on earlier today notes that non-Western consumers as a group now emit more CO2 than people living in the Annex 1 countries – the group of rich industrialised countries that have emissions reduction commitments under the UNFCCC. According to Glen Peters ‘the developing countries’ excuses are starting to drop away.’

In the case of China their CO2 emissions grew by 10.4 percent last year – considerably higher than the global average of 5.9 percent. Although up to 30 percent of Chinese emissions are the result of export-intended production – the domestic emissions, that is the sum total emissions of Chinese consumers, is now also world-leading, surpassing the total emissions of all US consumers. [It is perhaps needless to remark there are indeed more people in China than in the US.]

© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org

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