Why bother when China is building new coal fired power stations . . .
Another place, another argument with someone who wants to know how much CO2, on a global percentage basis, will be removed from the atmosphere if Scotland meets her 2020 targets. The argument is that with emissions from China and other developing nations continuing to rise our contribution to the solution is miniscule and insignificant.
It is certainly true that Scotland’s overall global contribution to CO2 reduction will be a very small number as a percentage. It will however be disproportionately large compared to her population. To me this is something for Scotland to be proud of. To continue pouring pollutants into the atmosphere just because other people are is not the mark of a civilised country.
It is important to remember that the majority of anthropogenic CO2 currently in the atmosphere and causing the problem is not China’s, it is the USA’s and Europe’s.
Cumulative CO2 emissions between 1850 and 2007
1. US: 339,174 MT or 28.8%
2. China: 105,915 MT or 9.0%
3. Russia: 94,679 MT or 8.0%
4. Germany: 81,194.5 MT or 6.9%
5. UK: 68,763 MT or 5.8%
6. Japan: 45,629 MT or 3.87%
7. France: 32,667 MT or 2.77%
8. India: 28,824 MT or 2.44%
9. Canada: 25,716 MT or 2.2%
10. Ukraine: 25,431 MT or 2.2%
China at 105,915m metric tonnes of CO2 has a long way to go to catch up with the cumulative totals of the West, and may (hopefully) never do so.
So – our focus on emissions reductions is in part an acknowledgement of the historic burden we have placed on the planet, and of course ‘pour encourager les autres’.
Of all the reasons for not doing anything about our emissions this is perhaps the most pathetic. We create a problem then either refuse to acknowledge it or blame it on China. Time to man up.