your connection to The Boston Globe

A global emmissions standard?

As the world continues to debate global warming, one big question is how to accommodate the increased growth of the developing economies, especially India and China. How many tons of greenhouse gases are emitted per person globally each year?

A. 24.5 tons B. 10.4 tons

C. 5.6 tons D. 1.9 tons

A. 24.5 tons is not correct.

The United States ranks sixth in greenhouse gas emissions on a per-capita basis, emitting the equivalent of 24.5 tons of carbon dioxide per person per year.

Based on 2000 data compiled by the World Resources Institute, Qatar has the highest per-capita greenhouse gas emissions in the world, a staggering 67.9 tons per person each year.

Both countries emit greenhouse gases at a rate vastly higher than the global averages, an annual average of 14.1 tons per capita for developed countries and 3.3 tons per capita for developing countries.

B. 10.4 tons is not correct.

Japan, at 10.4 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per person each year, has achieved one of the best records among the world's largest industrialized nations. Among the Group of Eight nations, it is outperformed only by Italy and France, with 9.2 tons and 8.7 tons per capita of emissions per year, respectively.

All three of these countries use high prices to encourage energy conservation, but other factors play a role, too.

Transportation is needed relatively less in densely populated places. Mild climates cut heating and cooling costs as well as reliance on nuclear power, particularly in France, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

C. 5.6 tons is correct.

On a worldwide basis, the average of annual greenhouse gas emissions amounts to 5.6 tons per person. While the US per-capita emissions rate is well more than four times the global average, even Japan's rate is double the world average.

As the concerns over global warming are compounded by further population increases and an intensification of economic development in the world's emerging markets, one thing is becoming clear: Pollution levels have to move downward virtually everywhere, but particularly in developed countries.

D. 1.9 tons is not correct.

At 1.9 tons per person, India ranks 140th worldwide in terms of annual per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, 66 percent below the global average. At its current income level, India produces and consumes only a fraction of what other large nations do, which explains its relatively low rate of emissions.

China, at 3.9 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per capita each year, also is well below the global average. However, its performance does not reflect conservation measures or efficient energy use, but rather, the low levels of consumption relative to its large population.

The Globalist Quiz is produced by The Globalist, a Washington- based research organization that promotes awareness of world affairs. © 2006 The Globalist,

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives