The United States’ disproportionate impact on global warming


New Scientist reports: It’s a chart that no one wants to top, but global warming’s worst offenders, in absolute terms, are the US, China, Russia, Brazil, India, Germany and the UK. New calculations suggest that these nations are responsible for more than 60 per cent of the global warming between 1906 and 2005.

Damon Matthews of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and his colleagues calculated national contributions to warming by weighting each type of emission according to the atmospheric lifetime of the temperature change it causes. Using historical data, they included carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and changes in land use – such as deforestation. They also accounted for methane, nitrous oxide and sulphate aerosols. These together account for 0.7 °C of the world’s 0.74 °C warming between 1906 and 2005.

The US is the clear leader, responsible for 0.15 °C, or 22 per cent of the 0.7 °C warming. China accounts for 9 per cent, Russia for 8 per cent, Brazil and India 7 per cent each, and Germany and the UK for 5 per cent each. [Continue reading…]

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