Well, I suppose the grim news this week – the far-reaching consequences of which will perpetuate mass migration and conflict – is Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Agreement, which is a global initiative centred around cooperation of the world’s nations to cut carbon emissions in a bid to stem the growth of greenhouse gases which contribute to accelerated global warming. This wouldn’t be so devastating if it weren’t for the fact that the US is the second largest contributor to atmospheric carbon emissions.
To get this into perspective, let’s look at some figures:
*In 2013, the US had a population of roughly 0.316 billion. The average carbon dioxide footprint per person that year was around 16.4 metric tonnes. This equates to an annual emission of roughly 5.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
*In 2013, the EU had a population of roughly 0.507 billion. The average carbon dioxide footprint per person that year was around 6.7 metric tonnes. This equates to an annual emission of roughly 3.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Now, here’s the scary bit – the EU consists of 28 countries!
Let’s have a think about population growth. The US has seen a steeper upward trend in population growth than the EU. In 2015, it’s population had increased by roughly 5 million in comparison with the EU’s population growth of approximately 3 million. With Trump’s attack on planned parenthood, this figure is likely to increase more dramatically over the coming years.
Thanks to the short-sightedness of the US administration, and Trump’s obvious lack of understanding about the virtues of global cooperation evident in statements like the following, that leaves me to conclude that we are all going to Hell in a hand-basket:
And here’s one from Uruguay’s former head of climate policy, Ramón Méndez:
Data source: World Bank