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July 22nd, 2008
Burning Season
Data: Top Twenty Global Carbon Dioxide Emitters

Carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of oil, coal and natural gas, including land use and forestation*
(in millions of metric tons)

*Land Use is defined as the human modification of natural environment or wilderness into fields, pastures, and settlements, including deforestation and the clearing and burning of living biomass. Forestation is the establishment of a forest, naturally or artificially, on an area, whether previously forested or not. Forestation has the positive effect of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This graph is a net total including emissions and reductions from forestry.

Data for 2004-2005. Land Usage/Forestation data not available for Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
Source: UNDP, Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fight Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World

Carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of oil, coal and natural gas
(in millions of metric tons)

Carbon dioxide emissions per capita
(in metric tons per person)

Source: UNDP, Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fight Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World
Population Source: Population Reference Bureau — 2004 World Population Data Sheet

Carbon dioxide emissions by gross domestic product
(in kilograms of carbon dioxide per U.S. dollar PPP*)

* PPP: Purchasing power parity takes into account different living standards and exchange rates between nations in order to compare a given basket of goods. GDP PPP data in 2000 U.S. dollars
Source: International Energy Agency, Key World Energy Statistics 2007

INDONESIA: Land usage in Indonesia — particularly the burning and clearing of forests for agriculture — significantly increases its carbon dioxide emissions. When deforestation is factored in, Indonesia ranks third in the world for carbon dioxide emissions, behind only the United States and China.

CHINA: Many studies on climate change conclude that China has already overtaken the United States in carbon dioxide emissions. China makes 44 percent of the world’s cement; cement production releases greenhouse gases when calcium carbonate (a compound found in all forms of rock) is heated, producing lime and carbon dioxide. The cement industry produces 5 percent of global man-made carbon dioxide emissions. China also relies on coal for two-thirds of its energy needs.

AUSTRALIA: Despite having only 0.32 percent of the world population, Australia contributes 1.43 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Over the last 25 years, Australian emissions grew at approximately twice the rate of the world as a whole, twice the rate of the USA and Japan, and five times the growth rate for Europe.

GERMANY: In July 2008, Germany passed new laws to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by doubling the amount of power from renewable energy sources. The government plans to reduce Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. That is twice the minimum percentage cut that the European Union’s 27 member states agreed to last year.

UNITED STATES: In 2008, a research team at Purdue University identified the top carbon-dioxide emitting counties in the United States. Harris County, Texas (which includes the city of Houston) tops the list with 18.625 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted per year, followed by Los Angeles County, California (18.595 million tons) and Cook County (Chicago), Illinois (13.209 million tons).

INDIA: Carbon dioxide emissions are rising rapidly in India as more cars take to the road. India is expected to surpass China as the world’s fastest growing car market sometime within the next five years. India’s vehicles accounted for 219 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2005.

Sources: Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, The Guardian, ScienceDaily, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, International Herald Tribune
  • Glenn Cannon

    As a leading emitter the United States should be the leading solution finder. We have to find our moral compass and be a leading part of the solution. It is not the price of doing what is right that we should be worried about, but the cost of not doing so.

  • Ian Reid

    Many thanks for this program. I’m a better person for having watched it and I feel a little more confident about the future of our world. As suggested by your program, I believe increasing awareness on the part of the people will coalesce into political demands of our politicians.

  • Sam

    Many thanks for this program.

    Paraphrasing the statements made at different times in the program: “While the world is moving on, US is trying to walk” and (addressed to US) “Pls help us solve it, or, at least leave it to us and get out of the way”. Is there a doubt if US lost its moral bearings? Its sad that the US public does not know these things. Awareness..Awareness…Awareness.

    A fine way of framing it as an economic opportunity so our capitalist thick-headed country gets it.

    Thanks for your program and I pray that more and more people get to see this.

  • CharlesWheeland

    Remember, all life forms are carbon based. When you exhale, it is carbon dioxide going out. Plants use carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, without which it would be hard to exist. the GDP of the US is 4 times the next country, Japan. California has a greater GDP than Italy. Think and get true facts not just emotion

  • Lindsay

    Often multinational corporations are independently large emitters. Could you produce a graph showing the emissions of the oil companies, or of auto manufacturers, huge cattle operations, and diversified conglomerates such as Mitsubishi? In some ways we are entering a post-national era, where analysing just along national categories only gives us part of the picture. So what about top 20 corporate emitters?

  • Ethan W

    Excellent , excellent documentary!!!
    It moved me! I really look forward to watching more similar documentaries. Thank you very much PBS.

  • Joe Ciechomski

    I never thought I would see the day the people would be taxed on air. The truth is, we U.S. citizens will be taxed, have a lower standard of living, and lose all. We are competing in a world of .40 cents an hour labor (China/India). The biggest polluter in the world is China; they are growing at speeds we could only dream of. Yet, China and India will not have to comply.
    The true goal of the globalist/carbon credits is not to save the earth. The truth is they need to lower industrial nations to the same standard of living as the rest of the world. Once this happens, the supper wealthy will have complete control over all. It will be hard to protest or overthrow a power structure if you can not feed your family. After all, who came up with free trade with nations that pay salve wages? Look at the U.S. Trade deficit/ accounts deficits/ real wages; notice a trend with our free trade policies? Carbon is the tool that will be used to transfer the wealth, after this happens the super wealthy can control all.
    Let’s hope the people wake up before the reader of this post loses their job and house, family etc… I guess I will go back to school to work on windmills LOL

  • M.G.

    On June 15, 2008 a Dr. Mark Hendrickson wrote an article in the Victorville Post Dispatch attempting to imply by leaving out many true facts and overstating a few true ones that global warming is overstated, exaggerated and that people should not be so concerned. He implied that global warming was not an emergency and that Gore was just blowing the whole thing up out of proportion. I did not buy his claim. I am rather suspicious of the source of his funding. He is a faculty member at”The Center for Vision and Values” at Grove City College.

  • Leslie J Sutton

    Thanks for this information. I’m using it on a paper for Environmental Scienc.

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