Shocked and Persuaded

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Separating Fact From Fiction

Let Them Drink Vodka and Eat Sushi

In reading the latest global census data one thing popped in my head: Is it possible that per capita global CO2 footprints may decline in the coming year(s)?

The answer is essentially yes and we have countries like Japan and Russia to thank. For example, Russia’s population of 140.7 million is projected to decline by 0.49% annually and when considering The Reds 10.5 tons of CO2 per capita per year it turns out Russian per capita emissions could potentially decline by 7.28 Million Metric Tons in the next year.

Additionally, Japan is expected to lose 0.10% of it’s 127.3 million people (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/business/economy/18charts.html?ref=todayspaper), which when combined with their per capita footprint of 9.8 tons of CO2 per year we see a potential net decline of 1.25 MMT annually. Furthermore, the eastern european/former Soviet Union states will experience an average net population decline of 0.68% annually resulting in a decline of 790 thousand tons of CO2 from this region in the next year. Russia’s near-abroad neighbor will lessen it’s footprint by 2.57 MMT in the next year given it’s annual population decline of 0.80%

Is this fact? Of course not but it is quite probable, because Russians and Japanese, two significant contributors to atmospheric CO2, are getting older fast and in the case of the latter incapable of staying away from their beloved national spirit. Conversely, our footprint here in the US will increase by 55.83 MMT, Canada and Mexico 5.31 each,  Argentina 1.60, Brazil, 4.24, Venezuela 2.60,  France and the UK 1.65-1.90. Interestingly BBC (Big Bad China) will increase by 32.12 MMT. However, the overwhelming good news is that our global per capita Co2 emissions will increase marginally (+0.023%) in the next year, a trend indeed deserving of attention but not plaudits. The estimates above for China may actually be conservative given that they have gone from producing 1 coal fired power plant a day to 1 per week, which itself is a 14.3% change in energy strategy. Couple this with the fact that China had originally planned to have only 5,000 megawatts (MW) of wind online by the end of next year, but now project 30,000 MW, which essentially replaces the need for forty-eight 625 MW coal plants. This 30,000 figure is 118% of the current US wind power generating fleet (25,400 MW) (reliability_factsheet1).

The cumulative affects of the aforementioned population declines will be a decrease of 12.25 MMT in Russia, Japan, and the Eastern European block. This is equivalent to 48.3% and 21.2% of Canadian and Australian emissions, respectively, or put another way would cancel the annual emissions from the state of Vermont and our nation’s capital combined. Not bad but again just a start. Now get out there and buy some vodka to wash down your nightly serving of sushi! The planet thanks you and your children will thank you as well!

Category: Energy, Healthcare

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