CO₂ emissions per country

Rich countries tend to have significantly higher the CO₂ emissions per population.

Hannah Ritchie (Our World in Data): Who emits more than their share of CO₂ emissions?

In a recent article I explored how different income groups and world regions compared in terms of their share of the global population and versus carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

From this, two key questions from readers emerged:

  • How does this comparison look at the national level; and
  • How does this look when we correct for emissions embedded in trade, so that we are comparing the emissions caused by a country’s consumption rather than production?

Which countries emit more than their ‘share’ of emissions?

In a completely equal world, each country’s share of the world’s COemissions would be equal to its share of the global population. This is not reality. In my previous post I explored how this looked at regional and income group levels. But how do individual countries fare in this comparison?

In the chart below I have plotted each country’s share of global CO2 emissions (on the y-axis) versus its share of the global population (on the x-axis) Note that this is based on production-based (territorial) emissions.

There are a few interesting findings which emerge:

  • All countries in the high-income group emit more than their population share;
  • All low-income groups emit less than their population share;
  • Most lower-middle income countries emit less than their population share; and upper-middle income countries are mixed;
  • The USA emits more than three-times its population share;
  • China emits significantly more than its population share (29 percent of emissions vs. 19 percent of population);
  • India emits significantly less than its share (7 percent of emissions vs. 18 percent of population);
  • Brazil emits just over half of its population share (2.8 percent of emissions vs. 1.5 percent of population).

A more simplified way to determine whether countries over- or under-emit CO2 emissions relative to their population share is to compare per capita emissions with the global average.

I have mapped below which countries have average per capita emissions above or below the global average. Countries in red have per capita emissions above global ‘equity’ (meaning they emit more than their population share); those in blue are below the global average. Here we see that most of those above global equity are across North America, Eurasia, and Oceania. The surprising result for many is that in Europe, Sweden and Switzerland emit less than the global average.

New Zealand is above average. Some comparisons (tonnes CO2 per capita):

  • New Zealand 7.81
  • Saudi Arabia 19.77
  • Australia 16.91
  • USA 16.86
  • Canada 15.85
  • Russia 11.59
  • Germany 9.7
  • Japan 9.64
  • Libya 9.51
  • Iran 8.9
  • South Africa 8.39
  • Poland 8.18
  • China 7.4
  • United Kingdom 6.38
  • Spain 5.85
  • France 5.05
  • Ukraine 4.94
  • Turkey 4.9
  • Indonesia 1.82
  • India 1.77
  • Afghanistan 0.31

“God, country and family”

A lot of attention is being given to the movie American Sniper. It shows the awfulness of war and the difficulty with returning to home and family.

In New film American Sniper paints Chris Kyle as a hero, but the true story is not so simple an interesting comment is quoted of the real life sniper, Chris Kyle.

He lists his priorities as “God, country and family” in that order.

That’s in the wrong order for me, and I don’t do the god bit – I can’t fathom how someone could put a deity before their family.

I’d almost always put myself and my family first. Sure I try and do something for the country but it’s a “if i can’ rather than an essential priority.

I haven’t had to consider ‘fighting for my country’ like my father, uncles and grandfathers did. I think I would have joined up in those days, but I’ve been very lucky to never been put in that position.

But the welfare of my family would remaion foremost in my mind.

Wikipedia on Chris Kyle (he was killed by ‘friendly’ fire after he returned to Texas).

New Zealand optimism

David Farrar at Kiwiblog posts on The mood in different countries.

Many polls ask if people think their country is generally heading in the right or the wrong direction.

The current polls for the five countries we cover are:

  • United States -32%
  • United Kingdom -21%
  • Canada – 17%
  • Australia +2%
  • New Zealand +39%

Why do people think New Zealand is so much more positive than all the others?

This mood comparison is backed up by a comment by ‘kiwi in america’.

I travel to 3 and live in 1 of the 5 countries on this list regularly on business and the objective surveys are matched by my subjective feeling.

The mood in the US (Main St) is one of wearying uncertainty and grimly hanging on (notwithstanding Wall St prices),

Canada has soured from optimism to more recent pessimism whilst Australia has slumped from floating above the GFC fray to a palpable souring of sentiment to uncertainty and cautiousness.

New Zealand felt positively buoyant on my December 2013 visit – in every business meeting local participants commented on favourable trading conditions and future optimism both specifically for their industry and for the country as a whole.

That’s quite different to the dire mood being promoted by some New Zealand politicians. They seem to think people can only be happy if they get into power.