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Exceeding World’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget

climate-change

Several years ago I published an analysis in MWC News in which I estimated that the world had only about 5 years left relative to 2012 before it exceeded its 2010-2050 Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget that must not be exceeded if it is to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degrees Centigrade temperature rise [1].

Using recently revised estimates of annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution for all countries that takes livestock and land use impacts into account [2], one can readily estimate that about half of all countries in the world have now already used up their fair share of this Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget, with the world as a whole having only about 2 years left relative to 2016 before it exceeds this Terminal Budget. In an immense global injustice, the very low polluting countries with about 15 years or more left before such exceedance include many impoverished, global warming-threatened Island Nations and some major, impoverished, global warming-threatened mega-delta countries that are also variously susceptible to devastation by sea level rise (Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, India, and Vietnam).

Below are listed revised annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution for all countries (tonnes CO2-e per person per year), the world average being 63.80 billion tonnes CO2-e / 7.137 billion people in 2013 = 8.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year. These revised estimates take the impact of methanogenic livestock and land use into account, and the data are grouped into (A) countries above the world average, and (B) countries below the world average [2].

(A) countries above the world average: Belize (366.9), Guyana (203.1), Malaysia (126.0), Papua New Guinea (114.7), Qatar (101.8), Zambia (97.5), Antigua & Barbuda (85.6), United Arab Emirates (82.4), Panama (68.0), Botswana (64.9), Liberia (55.0), Indonesia (53.6), New Zealand (53.2), Australia (52.9; 116 if including its huge GHG-generating exports), Nicaragua (51.2), Canada (50.1), Equatorial Guinea (47.5), Venezuela (45.2), Brazil (43.4), Myanmar (41.9), Ireland (41.4), United States (41.0), Cambodia (40.5), Kuwait (37.3), Paraguay (37.2), Central African Republic (35.7); Peru (34.8), Mongolia (32.2), Singapore (31.2), Bahrain (30.5), Trinidad & Tobago (29.8), Cameroon (29.5), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (29.3), Côte d'Ivoire (29.1), Denmark (27.8), Brunei (27.4), Bolivia (27.3), Guatemala (26.9), Belgium (26.3), Ecuador (26.2), Estonia (25.4), Laos (25.3), Suriname (25.1), Netherlands (24.9), Libya (24.9), Nepal (24.6), Benin (24.5), Angola (23.8), Madagascar (23.7), Argentina (23.7), Uruguay (23.7)*, Luxembourg (23.6), Turkmenistan (23.5), Czech Republic (23.5), Zimbabwe (23.3), Gabon (23.1), Greece (21.9), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (21.5), Cyprus (21.4), Congo, Republic (21.0), Spain (20.9), Finland (20.6), Israel (20.2), Norway (20.1), Colombia (19.8), Namibia (19.8), Mauritania (19.7), South Africa (19.4), Ukraine (19.1), Germany (18.6); France (17.7), Italy (17.6), Uzbekistan (17.5), Costa Rica (17.1), Sudan (16.8), Saudi Arabia (16.6), Slovenia (16.5), Azerbaijan (16.4), Russia (16.2), Sierra Leone (16.2), Slovakia (15.9), Honduras (15.8), Hungary (15.5), Kazakhstan (15.4), Portugal (15.0), Sweden (15.0), Iran (14.5), Iceland (14.2), Mexico (13.9), Oman (13.8), Malta (13.3), Austria (13.0), Poland (12.9), Jamaica (12.8), Palau (12.8), South Korea (12.7), Guinea (12.5), North Korea (12.1), Bahamas (12.1), Nigeria (11.7), Nauru (11.7), Malawi (11.7), Mali (11.6), Chad (11.6), Taiwan (11.6), Latvia (11.4), Vanuatu (11.1), Switzerland (11.0), Romania (10.9), Togo (10.9), Japan (10.7), Serbia & Montenegro (10.4), Seychelles (10.2), Bulgaria (10.1), Lebanon (9.8), Syria (9.4), Tanzania (9.3), Turkey (9.2), Barbados (9.1), Jordan (9.1), Occupied State of Palestine (9.1)*, Philippines (9.0), Guinea-Bissau (9.0);

(B) countries below the world average: Ghana (8.9), Thailand (8.7), Chile (8.7), Fiji (8.7), Belarus (8.6), Sri Lanka (8.5), Macedonia (8.5), Tonga (7.4), Croatia (7.4), China (7.4), Burkina Faso (7.3), Bosnia & Herzegovina (7.2), Kenya (7.1), Dominican Republic (7.1), Senegal (7.0), Tunisia (7.0), Algeria (6.6), Grenada (6.4), Samoa (6.2), Rwanda (6.1), El Salvador (6.0), Lithuania (5.9), Mozambique (5.8), Lesotho (5.7), Burundi (5.5), Iraq (5.5), Eritrea (5.3), St Kitts & Nevis (5.1), Uganda (5.1), Haiti (5.0), Mauritius (5.0), Albania (4.3), Dominica (4.2), Bhutan (4.1), Niger (4.1), Ethiopia (4.1), Moldova (4.0), Georgia (4.0), Yemen (3.7), Tajikistan (3.7), Afghanistan (3.6), Swaziland (3.6), Cuba (3.5), Cape Verde (3.5), Kyrgyzstan (3.4), The Gambia (3.0), St Lucia (2.9), Bangladesh (2.7), Egypt (2.6), Niue (2.6), Pakistan (2.5), Morocco (2.5), Djibouti (2.4), St Vincent & Grenadines (2.4), Armenia (2.3), Maldives (2.1), India (2.1), Cook Islands (2.1), Vietnam (1.9), São Tomé and Príncipe (1.9), Comoros (1.6), Solomon Islands (1.4), Kiribati (1.2), Tuvalu (1.2)* (* estimated from that of a similar, contiguous country) [2].

From this listing of revised annual per capita GHG pollution for each country we can see which countries are well above the world average and those that are well below the world average.

The 2009 Report of the German Scientific Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU, Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) entitled “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” crucially stated: “The budget of CO2 emissions still available worldwide could be derived from the 2 degree C guard rail. By the middle of the 21st century a maximum of approximately 750 Gt CO2 (billion metric tons) may be released into the Earth's atmosphere if the guard rail is to be adhered to with a probability of 67%. If we raise the probability to 75%, the cumulative emissions within this period would even have to remain below 600 Gt CO2. In any case, only a small amount of CO2 may be emitted worldwide after 2050. Thus, the era of an economy driven by fossil fuels will definitely have to come to an end within the first half of this century” [3].

The average world population in the period between 2010 and 2050 will be 8.321 billion. Accordingly, the per capita share of this Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget is less than 600 billion tonnes CO2/8.321 billion people = less than 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person.

Using the above corrected data for the annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that properly account for land use and livestock impacts, one can determine how many years left at current rates of GHG pollution (in units of CO2-e or CO2-equivalent i.e. taking other GHGs into account) before a given country uses up its “fair share” of this Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget. Thus, for example, Australia has 72.1 tonnes CO2-e allowed per person / 52.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year = 1.4 years left relative to 2010, noting that this analysis does not take into account historical pollution of the atmosphere. Thus a climate criminal Australia used up its “fair share” of the world's Terminal Carbon Pollution in about 2011 and since then has been stealing the entitlement of the other countries which have not yet used up their Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget entitlement.

Indeed the whole world is very close to using up its Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget. Thus years left before the whole world uses up this budget = 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person/ 8.9 tonnes CO2-e per person per year = 8.1 years left relative to 2010 and thus only about 2 years left relative to 2016.

This analysis has been applied to all countries with the following results for “Years left relative to 2010 for zero emissions”, with the data being grouped into (A) countries who as of 2016 have used up their fair share of the Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget, and (B) countries who as of 2016 have not yet used up their fair share of the Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget:

(A) countries who as of 2016 have used up their fair share of the Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget: Belize (0.2 years left), Guyana (0.4), Malaysia (0.6), Papua New Guinea (0.6), Qatar (0.7), Zambia (0.7), Antigua & Barbuda (0.8), United Arab Emirates (0.9), Panama (1.1), Botswana (1.1), Liberia (1.3), Indonesia (1.3), New Zealand (1.4), Australia (1.4; 0.6 years left if including its huge GHG-generating exports), Nicaragua (1.4), Canada (1.4), Equatorial Guinea (1.5), Venezuela (1.6), Brazil (1.7), Myanmar (1.7), Ireland (1.7), United States (1.8), Cambodia (1.8), Kuwait (1.9), Paraguay (1.9), Central African Republic (2.0); Peru (2.1), Mongolia (2.2), Singapore (2.3), Bahrain (2.4), Trinidad & Tobago (2.4), Cameroon (2.4), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (2.5), Côte d'Ivoire (2.5), Denmark (2.6), Brunei (2.6), Bolivia (2.6), Guatemala (2.7), Belgium (2.7), Ecuador (2.8), Estonia (2.8), Laos (2.8), Suriname (2.9), Netherlands (2.9), Libya (2.9), Nepal (2.9), Benin (2.9), Angola (3.0), Madagascar (3.0), Argentina (3.0), Uruguay (3.0), Luxembourg (3.1), Turkmenistan (3.1), Czech Republic (3.1), Zimbabwe (3.1), Gabon (3.1), Greece (3.3), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (3.4), Cyprus (3.4), Congo, Republic (3.4), Spain (3.4), Finland (3.5), Israel (3.6), Norway (3.6), Colombia (3.6), Namibia (3.6), Mauritania (3.7), South Africa (3.7), Ukraine (3.8), Germany (3.9); France (4.1), Italy (4.1), Uzbekistan (4.1), Costa Rica (4.2), Sudan (4.3), Saudi Arabia (4.3), Slovenia (4.4), Azerbaijan (4.4), Russia (4.5), Sierra Leone (4.5), Slovakia (4.5), Honduras (4.6), Hungary (4.7), Kazakhstan (4.7), Portugal (4.8), Sweden (4.8), Iran (5.0), Iceland (5.1), Mexico (5.2), Oman (5.2), Malta ( 5.4), Austria (5.5), Poland (5.6), Jamaica (5.6), Palau (5.6), South Korea (5.7), Guinea (5.8), North Korea (6.0), Bahamas (6.0);

(B) countries who as of 2016 have not yet used up their fair share of the Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget: Nigeria (6.2 years left), Nauru (6.2), Malawi (6.2), Mali (6.2), Chad (6.2), Taiwan (6.2), Latvia (6.3), Vanuatu (6.5), Switzerland (6.6), Romania (6.6), Togo (6.6), Japan (6.7), Serbia & Montenegro (6.9), Seychelles (7.1), Bulgaria (7.1), Lebanon (7.4), Syria (7.7), Tanzania (7.8), Turkey (7.8), Barbados (7.9), Jordan (7.9), Occupied State of Palestine (7.9), Philippines (8.0), Guinea-Bissau (8.0); Ghana (8.1), Thailand (8.3), Chile (8.3), Fiji (8.3), Belarus (8.4), Sri Lanka (8.5), Macedonia (8.5), Tonga (9.7), Croatia (9.7), China (9.7), Burkina Faso (9.9), Bosnia & Herzegovina (10.0), Kenya (10.2), Dominican Republic (10.2), Senegal (10.3), Tunisia (10.3), Algeria (10.9), Grenada (11.3), Samoa (11.6), Rwanda (11.8), El Salvador (12.0), Lithuania (12.2), Mozambique (12.4), Lesotho (12.6), Burundi (13.1), Iraq (13.1), Eritrea (13.6), St Kitts & Nevis (14.1), Uganda (14.1), Haiti (14.4), Mauritius (14.4), Albania (16.8), Dominica (17.2), Bhutan (17.6), Niger (17.6), Ethiopia (17.6), Moldova (18.0), Georgia (18.0), Yemen (19.5), Tajikistan (19.5), Afghanistan (20.0), Swaziland (20.0), Cuba (20.6), Cape Verde (20.6), Kyrgyzstan (21.3), The Gambia (24.0), St Lucia (24.9), Bangladesh (26.7), Egypt (27.7), Niue (27.7), Pakistan (28.8), Morocco (28.8), Djibouti (30.0), St Vincent & Grenadines (30.0), Armenia (31.3), Maldives (34.3), India (34.3), Cook Islands (34.3), Vietnam (37.9), São Tomé and Príncipe (37.9), Comoros (45.0), Solomon Islands (51.5), Kiribati (60.1), Tuvalu (60.1).

We can finally list countries in ascending order of “years left relative to 2016 for zero emissions” by simply subtracting 6.0 from the “years left relative to 2010 for zero emissions”, with the data being grouped below into (A) countries who as of 2016 have used up their fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget and (B) countries who as of 2016 have not used up their fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget:

(A) countries who as of 2016 have used up their fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget: Belize (-5.8 years left i.e. minus 5.8 years left i.e. it used up its “fair share” 5.8 years ago ), Guyana (-5.6), Malaysia (-5.4), Papua New Guinea (-5.4), Qatar (-5.3), Zambia (-5.3), Antigua & Barbuda (-5.2), United Arab Emirates (-5.1), Panama (-4.9), Botswana (-4.9), Liberia (-4.7), Indonesia (-4.7), New Zealand (-4.6), Australia (-4.6; -4.4 years left if including its huge GHG-generating exports), Nicaragua (-4.6), Canada (-4.6), Equatorial Guinea (-4.5), Venezuela (-4.4), Brazil (-4.3), Myanmar (-4.3), Ireland (-4.3), United States (-4.2), Cambodia (-4.2), Kuwait (-4.1), Paraguay (-4.1), Central African Republic (-4.0); Peru (-3.9), Mongolia (-3.8), Singapore (-3.7), Bahrain (-3.6), Trinidad & Tobago (-3.6), Cameroon (-3.6), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (-3.5), Côte d'Ivoire (-3.5), Denmark (-3.4), Brunei (-3.4), Bolivia (-3.4), Guatemala (-3.3), Belgium (-3.3), Ecuador (-3.2), Estonia (-3.2), Laos (-3.2), Suriname (-3.1), Netherlands (-3.1), Libya (-3.1), Nepal (-3.1), Benin (-3.1), Angola (-3.0), Madagascar (-3.0), Argentina (-3.0), Uruguay (-3.0), Luxembourg (-2.9), Turkmenistan (-2.9), Czech Republic (-2.9), Zimbabwe (-2.9), Gabon (-2.9), Greece (-2.7), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (-2.6), Cyprus (-2.6), Congo, Republic (-2.6), Spain (-2.6), Finland (-2.5), Israel (-2.4), Norway (-2.4), Colombia (-2.4), Namibia (-2.4), Mauritania (-2.3), South Africa (-2.3), Ukraine (-2.2), Germany (-2.1); France (-1.9), Italy (-1.9), Uzbekistan (-1.9), Costa Rica (-1.8), Sudan (-1.7), Saudi Arabia (-1.7), Slovenia (-1.6), Azerbaijan (-1.6), Russia (-1.5), Sierra Leone (-1.5), Slovakia (-1.5), Honduras (-1.4), Hungary (-1.3), Kazakhstan (-1.3), Portugal (-1.2), Sweden (-1.2), Iran (-1.0), Iceland (-0.9), Mexico (-0.8), Oman (-0.8), Malta ( -0.6), Austria (-0.5), Poland (-0.4), Jamaica (-0.4), Palau (-0.4), South Korea (-0.3), Guinea (-0.2), North Korea (0.0), Bahamas (0.0);

(B) countries who as of 2016 have not used up their fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget: Nigeria (0.2), Nauru (0.2), Malawi (0.2), Mali (0.2), Chad (0.2), Taiwan (0.2), Latvia (0.3), Vanuatu (0.5), Switzerland (0.6), Romania (0.6), Togo (0.6), Japan (0.7), Serbia & Montenegro (0.9), Seychelles (1.1), Bulgaria (1.1), Lebanon (1.4), Syria (1.7), Tanzania (1.8), Turkey (1.8), Barbados (1.9), Jordan (1.9), Occupied State of Palestine (1.9), Philippines (2.0), Guinea-Bissau (2.0); Ghana (2.1), Thailand (2.3), Chile (2.3), Fiji (2.3), Belarus (2.4), Sri Lanka (2.5), Macedonia (2.5), Tonga (3.7), Croatia (3.7), China (3.7), Burkina Faso (3.9), Bosnia & Herzegovina (4.0), Kenya (4.2), Dominican Republic (4.2), Senegal (4.3), Tunisia (4.3), Algeria (4.9), Grenada (5.3), Samoa (5.6), Rwanda (5.8), El Salvador (6.0), Lithuania (6.2), Mozambique (6.4), Lesotho (6.6), Burundi (7.1), Iraq (7.1), Eritrea (7.6), St Kitts & Nevis (8.1), Uganda (8.1), Haiti (8.4), Mauritius (8.4), Albania (8.8), Dominica (11.2), Bhutan (11.6), Niger (11.6), Ethiopia (11.6), Moldova (12.0), Georgia (12.0), Yemen (13.5), Tajikistan (13.5), Afghanistan (14.0), Swaziland (14.0), Cuba (14.6), Cape Verde (14.6), Kyrgyzstan (15.3), The Gambia (18.0), St Lucia (18.9), Bangladesh (20.7), Egypt (21.7), Niue (21.7), Pakistan (22.8), Morocco (22.8), Djibouti (24.0), St Vincent & Grenadines (24.0), Armenia (25.3), Maldives (28.3), India (28.3), Cook Islands (28.3), Vietnam (31.9), São Tomé and Príncipe (31.9), Comoros (39.0), Solomon Islands (45.5), Kiribati (54.1), Tuvalu (54.1).

Conclusions

About half the countries of the world have already in 2016 used up their fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic plus 2 degrees Centigrade temperature rise. The worst offenders are countries variously massively engaged in deforestation, fossil fuel exploitation or a combination of these sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. The worst First World European offenders are the rich Anglosphere countries of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United States.

In stark contrast, the countries with about 15 or more years left before (at current pollution rates) they use up their fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget include impoverished global warming-threatened mega-delta countries (The Gambia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Vietnam) and various impoverished, global warming-threatened Island Nations (Cuba, Cape Verde, St Lucia, Niue, St Vincent & Grenadines, Maldives, Cook Islands, São Tomé and Príncipe, Comoros, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu).

Indeed the whole world has only about 2 years left relative to 2016.years left before it uses up its Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget. The present analysis shows that we are badly running out of time to deal with man-made climate change, a position also put forward by numerous scientists [4, 5]. Sensible, humane, science-informed people who care for their children and future generations must (a) do everything they can to make the future “less bad”, (b) inform everyone they can about countries exceeding their fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget, and (c) urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all people, politicians, parties, companies, corporations and countries disproportionately involved in the greenhouse gas pollution that so acutely threatens Humanity and the Biosphere. How many years left has your country before it exceeds its fair share of the world’s Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget?

References

  1. Gideon Polya, “Doha climate change inaction. Only 5 years left to act", MWC News, 9 December 2012: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/23373-gideonpolya-climate-change.html .
  2. Gideon Polya, “Revised Annual Per Capita Greenhouse Gas Pollution For All Countries – What Is Your Country Doing?” Countercurrents, 6 January, 2016.
  3. WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”, 2009.
  4. “Are we doomed?”
  5. "Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe".

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