April 2, 2012 in Climate change
The world is already suffering from the effects of climate change as a recently published study in the Journal Nature Climate Change reveals. The study, conducted by Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, says that extreme weather events over the last decade have increased and are “very likely” caused by human-induced climate change.
Climate change caused sea levels to rise about eight inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating, according to another report, titled, Surging Seas. The report predicts that both of the U.S. coasts will see a one to eight inch rise by 2030, and four to 19 inches by 2050, “depending upon location across the contiguous 48 states.”
Given all the reports and studies predicting what the catastrophic effects of climate change will be, it is amazing that there is still resistance, particularly in the U.S., to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Kari Marie Norgaard, professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Oregon pointed out during a news briefing last week that there is a “weak political, social or policy response” to climate change.
“This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat,” Norgaard said. “We must first be aware that this resistance is happening at all levels of our society,” Norgaard said. “If you have to push a heavy weight, it doesn’t mean it can’t be moved, but in order to push it you had better know that you have something heavy and figure out how to move it — where to put the lever to shift the weight.”
The U.S. emits far more carbon emissions per person than the rest of the world
The environmental action group, Tck Tck Tck provides an interactive world map where you can find out about climate change impacts around the world. For example, hovering over the map of the U.S. reveals that there are 22.4 tons of carbon emissions per person. European countries have far less carbon emissions per person than the U.S. does, according to the map. For example, the U.K.only emits 10.5 tons per person, France 8.9 tons, and Germany 11.7 tons.
African countries emit even less. For example, Algeria emits 4 tons per person, and Chad emits 2.1 tons. Asian countries emit about the same as African countries, as the following example shows: China only emits 5.4 tons per person and India a mere 1.7 tons. Latin American countries also emit far fewer carbon emissions person. For example,Mexicoemits 6.6 tons per person and Peru 5.2 tons.
Clearly, people living in Western countries emit more carbon emissions per person than do people living in the two-thirds world. The sad irony is that many countries in the two-thirds world are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. The West is responsible for climate change as the industrial revolution ushered in the era of fossil fuel dependency. Since the U.S.is the so-called leader of the free world, it makes sense that the U.S. must set an example for the world by finding ways to significantly lower its carbon dioxide emissions. To do anything less is to ensure that the future generations who will reside on this planet will suffer from the worst effects of climate change.