What is your country’s CO2 debt?

Today I came across an interesting article on the New Scientist website which outlines some recent research which reports the CO2 emissions of each country as ‘social debt’. Indeed, research from the Concordia University, Canada, ranks each country by the amount of over-pollution they carry out, by calculating that each tonne of carbon dioxide produced has a social debt of $40, as suggested by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The research ranks the UK well below that of Australia and the US, racking up $4000 of debt between 1990 and 2013 compared to more than $12000.

It’s certainly an interesting way to compare countries, with some such as China actually being considered to be ‘in credit’ using this system. However, this may be misleading, as in recent years China have begun to produce more CO2 for its population than the global average. It seems that as time passes by, China’s credit will soon be swallowed by its recent boom in CO2 production.

Hopefully, metrics such as this will allow for a critical review of which countries are contributing the most to climate change, not only right now but since the issue became such a big talking point. It’s often difficult to pinpoint who is the most responsible for such global problems, and so choosing the right action to be taken by whom becomes a major issue. Perhaps, studies such as these will allow the world to see which countries should be held to account for their pollution, and be responsible for making amends.

Climate change continues to be a huge issue for all scientists, and deciding who is worsening the issue the most may help us to tackle the problem. We can highlight who is polluting the Earth the most and why, and hopefully then be able to really work on solutions for the future.


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