Greenhouse Gas Emission Statistics:

I thought it would be interesting to have a look at who (internationally) were the biggest polluters or to spin it positively, the most environmentally responsible. There has been so much talk and so many failed treaties, but is it possible to remove the rhetoric and see which nations are actually in a position to be able to preach to the others?

To approach this from the perspective of individual responsibility, one of the key issues must be to separate emissions caused by industrial activity from those caused by individuals. I fully accept that this approach will attract some criticism because, of course we are all ultimately responsible for the well-being of the planet be it directly or indirectly. Anyway still worth trying.

Well, some interesting conclusions, but I can say now that I wasn’t really able to get a satisfactory answer.

Comprehensive statistical data on emissions is produced by such organisations as World Bank, UN, IMF, CIA, etc.  So what can we learn from this?

Very difficult to make any conclusions without much more analysis.  Maybe it would help to consider some places I know something about to be able better discern some answers.  So I extracted data for four countries where I have variously lived and worked, UK, UAE, Malaysia and Philippines.

These places have totally different profiles not only in terms of Greenhouse emissions but also, population, industrialisation, exports, etc. etc.   We can also get stats for GDP and service sector GDP together with population.  Still not possible to get a realistic answer but maybe we can an indication if we calculate the emissions per capita based on the non-industrialised part of the economy.  That’s about as close as we can get based on this data.

The Table is here:

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Conclusions?

Several really…..

  1. Its not possible to get a reliable answer from the available data. None of the organisations collecting this data have a core interest that is remotely close to this subject, maybe that starts to explain why the available stats are not at all focused on it.  Surely that has to change if we are to really address the related problems by getting to the real causes and monitoring any progress and if necessary to hold governments / organisations / people accountable.
  2. My statistical analysis skills are severely limited.
  3. What a hugely complex problem this is.
  4. The available stats are a good start but they don’t really cut it…..Responsibility has to start on a personal level but all the stats are directed at government level and therefore anodyne and meaningless to individuals.
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