Dec 10

Carbon Dioxide Pollution and Global WarmingCurrently the 12th UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, a follow-up meeting of world leaders to decide on a successor agenda for the Kyoto Protocol (which was ratified by 172 countries but expires in 2012), is receiving a lot of media coverage.

Kyoto was the first international treaty to pledge to legally-binding commitments to reduce emissions of 6 categories of greenhouse gases in a 6-year timeframe.

As more and more countries realize that Global Warming is a reality and not something out of a science fiction movie, it’s interesting to examine some current facts and figures:

Unfortunately the reality in the United States is currently in a very sad state, which isn’t so immanent in every day news reports. Sure, the worlds most powerful moron, Mr George Bush is doing what he can not to ratify the Kyoto protocol and he is even planning to team up with economic arch rivals China, India and Saudi Arabia to hinder further commitment of the world community to higher environmental standards and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

After all – those standards wouldn’t be good for the economy and would hurt a lot of multinational companies financially, right?

But what about the human beings, who will be affected in the long run from increasing pollution, global warming effects like coastal flooding, droughts, extreme climate change (like rising temperatures and sea levels) and further intrusion into the living spaces of near extinct species?

Just to show the insanity of this new economic bondings, here are some current facts and figures regarding the state of US carbon emissions:

  • the US is responsible for 27.8% of the cumulative global warming pollution
  • more than 150 of the largest developing nations emissions put together total 23%
  • in 2006 the 302 million people of the US emitted 19.46 tons of CO2 per head, compared with 1.92 tons/head in 148 developing countries, which are home to 3.835 billion people
  • Chinas 1.2 billion people emitted 3.8 tons per head/year
  • Indias 1 billion people emitted 1.2 tons per head/year
  • European countries emitted between 8-15 tons per head/year
  • 42 US states individually emit more carbon dioxide than 50 developing countries combined
  • 3 US states individually emit more CO2 than 100 developing countries
  • Texas (George’s home state and the biggest polluter in the US) with a population of 24 million people emitted 696 million tons of CO2/year – a staggering 29 tons per head/year (!), compared to Great Britain with a population of 60 million people, who emitted 578 million tons of CO2/year (9.33 tons per head/year)
  • Wyoming, the least populated state of the US with just 510.000 people, emits more carbon dioxide than 69 developing countries with a population of more than 357 million people

There are some good news as well. Many US states are now laying the foundation for a comprehensive national policy to reduce carbon dioxide levels, while the president is becoming increasingly isolated at home and abroad over his narrow-minded and short-sighted approach to environmental issues.

And with the new government of Australia having ratified Kyoto just days after taking over office, the pressure is up for George to seriously do something. After all the new Australian PM had won the elections in big parts due to his commitment to substantial change on environmental issues.

So is there hope that the wheels of time for global warming can be stopped – or even turned back?

What is Global Warming?The list of supporters for ‘laissez-fair’ ecological standards is getting smaller and smaller. France just introduced new penalty tax on gas-guzzling gas and bonuses for cleaner vehicles, while Germany passed its most ambitious climate change package recently, with the goal to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2020. This should be achieved by offering annual subsidies of 500 million Euros to help home owners installing environmentally friendly heating systems and other modern technology to increase the efficiency of heating in buildings. Renewable energies shall contribute between 25-30% of the country’s energy needs – up from a current level of 12%. Over the next 10 years, an investment of 31 billion Euro should produce energy savings worth 36 billion Euros, while the budget for climate protection rose by 200% compared to 2005.

Ethiopia and Mexico and leading the pack in tree replanting efforts, to mitigate the effects of pollution and environmental detoriation. Around the world over 1 billion of trees were planted in 2007

Measures like the usage of clean renewable energies (wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal, tidal, hydrogen and wave power), improving the current energy efficiency (in transport, buildings, appliances, lighting), usage of biofuels, carbon taxes and emission caps, carbon storage and sequestration (CSS) or geo-engineering (projects to prevent or reverse global warming effects) are options that slowly gain importance with politicians economic decision makers.

Even MTV is promoting small steps with their ‘Switch’ Campaign.

It seems that there is a chance to and avoid a ‘Day after Tomorrow’. But all, individuals, corporations and politicians have to pull in one directions and make way for future policies or start with the steps currently possible in everyones day-to-day life.

What is your view on the subject? What else can be done?

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written by Chris

3 Responses to “US feels the Heat at Bali Climate Conference – horrifying numbers!”

  1. Travel DestinationsNo Gravatar ROMANIA Says:

    more like giving reasons for terrorist attacks…this issue is well known, taking measures is the toughest part tough …pam pam

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    I have to disagree. Nobody will plan terrorist attacks out of environmental reasons – yet. But some more pressure here or there can’t hurt and will hopefully lead in the right direction in the end.

    As seen in Bali the last 2 weeks, the US is now isolated in their crusade to destroy our environment. Not that there could have been done more than the disappointing resolution which came out in the end.

    I hope we will see some more action to replace Kyoto shortly – and not only again in 2 years time….

  3. This is not my country, but it is 2008 | hell's handmaiden UNITED STATES Says:

    […] People Rich (L-O-N-G) posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket. Chris presents US feels the Heat at Bali Climate Conference – horrifying numbers! posted at nomad4ever. kcawley presents two about the electric car– Who Killed the Electric […]

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