Who is the biggest polluter in the world now? China? India? Here’s a chart you may find interesting:
China, as a developing country, is not yet required to reduce its emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, but as it accounts for one fifth of the world’s population, its emissions could dwarf any cuts made by industrialised countries.
The U.S. withdrew from its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6%, preferring instead to support voluntary reductions through the development of cleaner technologies. (A strategy which, according to this chart, didn’t seem to be working). Finding more recent figues has proved difficult but according to an April 2008 article China and the U.S. were still vying for the dubious title of being the world’s top carbon polluter.
If, like most people, you are a follower of the theory that greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming, then this all makes for depressing reading.
A breakdown of the countries on the above chart, together with their commitment and performance relating to the Kyoto Protocol can be seen here.
There is also a fascinating ‘live map’ of the earth, showing CO2 emissions, birth and death rates over at breathingearth.net.