West’s cumulative emissions of CO2 are 5 times those of China

A fact’s a fact …

  • Cumulative CO2 emissions by Western countries are 5 times those of China
  • China’s cumulative CO2 emissions = 220 billion tonnes (13% of world total cumulative emissions)
  • West’s cumulative CO2 emissions = 1148 billion tonnes (70% of world total cumulative emissions)
  • United States cumulative CO2 emissions = 400 billion tonnes (25% of world total cumulative emissions)
  • US contribution to cumulative CO2 emissions is more than any other country in the world with only 4.25% of the total world population and only 22.9% of China’s total population.

Western industrialization responsible for 70 % of global cumulative CO2 emissions

Cumulative (or historical) CO2 emissions are important because CO2 (and some other green house gases) persist for many years in the atmosphere. This means that a significant proportion of CO2 emissions accumulate over time both in the atmosphere and in the oceans.

Many of the large annual emitters today – such as India and Brazil – are not large contributors in a historical context. Africa’s regional contribution – relative to its population size – has been very small cumulative emissions.

** The West here includes: USA, European Union, Non-EU Europe, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and Australia.

Article was originally posted in China Environment News Facebook page 13 May 2021.

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