clear the air

Australians Named Worst Emitters

A study of the world’s power stations has shown the extent to which developed countries produce more carbon dioxide per head than emerging economies.

Australians were found to be the world’s worst polluters per capita, producing five times as much carbon from generating power as China. The US came second with eight tonnes of carbon per head – 16 times more than that produced by India. The US also produced the most carbon in total, followed by China.

The Carbon Monitoring for Action (Carma) website is the first global inventory of emissions and looks at 50,000 power stations. Its data was compiled by the Center for Global Development, a US think-tank.

Carma points out that while US power plants emit the most CO2, releasing 2.5bn tonnes into the atmosphere each year, Australian power stations are the least efficient on a per capita basis, with emissions of 10 tonnes, compared with the US’s 8.2 tonnes. China’s power sector emits the second-highest total amount of carbon dioxide, pumping 2.4bn tonnes of the gas into the atmosphere annually. However, its emissions are only one fifth of Australia’s when measured on a per capita basis.

Kevin Ummel, a research assistant at the Center for Global Development, hoped the online inventory would help the push towards a low carbon future.

CO2 EMISSIONS PER CAPITA Australia – 10.0 tonnesUS – 8.2 tonnesUK – 3.2 tonnesChina – 1.8 tonnes

India – 0.5 tonnes

(Source: Carma/CGD)


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