Carbon, carbon everywhere

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- The origin of greenhouse gas emissions is an important issue in relation to the need for devising policy options to minimise potential global climate change and its impacts. The best known of the greenhouse gases is CO2, which is emitted into the atmosphere in large amounts -the equivalent of more than 6,000 tonnes of carbon per year. The industrialised world, particularly the US, is largely responsible for the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. An international system for tradeable permits in carbon emissions would break new ground in international trade. But how to allot these permits is a debatable question.

Know your limits
A system to reduce CO2 emissions has to be developed
The tables shows how CO2 trade permits might be distributed among the top 20 countries taking different criteria. For simplicity, the total number of permits are assumed to be 1,000. The table has been compiled using 1989 figures
In proportion to CO2 emissions
(1989 country totals)

Equal rights per head of population
(1989 population figures)

Cleanliness of production
(GNP / tonnes CO2 1989)

United States
Soviet Union
China
Japan
India
Fed Rep of Germany
United Kigdom
Canada
Poland
Italy
France
German Dem Rep
Mexico
South Africa
Australia
Czechoslovakia
Republic of Korea
Romania
Brazil
Spain

273
213
134
58
37
36
32
26
25
22
20
18
18
16
14
13
12
12
12
11

China
India
Soviet Union
United States
Brazil
Japan
Mexico
Fed Rep of Germany
United Kingdom
Italy
France
Republic of Korea
Spain
Poland
South Africa
Canda
Romania
Australia
German Dem Rep
Czechoslovakia

353
244
84
72
43
36
25
18
17
17
16
12
11
11
11
8
8
5
5
5

Japan
France
Italy
Brazil
Fed Rep of Germany
Spain
United Kingdom
United States
Canada
Australia
Romania
Soviet Union
Republic of Korea
Czechoslovakia
German Dem Rep
Mexico
India
South Africa
Poland
China

117
109
89
80
72
72
58
54
52
42
36
35
35
34
31
28
25
12
9
8

Source: UNCTAD Report 1995 and WRI

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