We recently came across this chart from Visual Capitalist which we thought was really fascinating. It lays out all of the world’s carbon emitters in one easy to understand Infographic.
it is fascinating to go through the data. Carbon emissions show pollution and inefficient factories and power generation systems, but it also shows consumption. So when you compare China, the world’s largest emitter to the US, the world’s largest country, you can’t help but draw some conclusions.
China has 1.4 billion people versus about 330 million in the US. This means China has over four times the population of the US but only emits less than double the carbon emissions. India with about three and times the US population emits less than half of the US. This means per person the US emits a significantly more than China or the US.
The US’s economy is larger than both, but it tends to have more clean or higher value chain industries, thus the increase can mainly be attributed to personal consumption. Americans use more electricity, drive bigger cars more, eat better, have much larger homes, shop more and generally use more of the earth’s resources than their counterparts.
Conversely India tends to have older infrastructure and more polluting power generation, whereas China has more toxic, heavy industries. The US and western countries have outsourced dirty, polluting production to Asia. The lessons are clear. We all have to do better for the future of our planet and cut carbon emissions.