Another Climate Rubicon

While we dither in driving down our carbon emissions there was always some comfort in the fact that while India’s and China’s emissions are rapidly growing, on a per capita basis they were still low.   And they are low.   Yet an ominous milestone seems certain to be reached quite soon.Chunk-of-coal-on-fire-001

On a world-wide basis two tons of emissions per person per year is generally now thought to be the necessary limit.  Americans (and Canadians and Australians) are now at the disgraceful level of approximately 22 tons per person (and so we need to drop 90% as fast as possible, certainly well before 2050).

But in India they’ve now reached a meager 1.8 tons per person – with 2 tons a short time away.   An perhaps more ominously, as the article notes, right now India and China alone are projected to account for 56% of world-wide emissions growth through 2030.

We will soon all be in the red.  If we don’t start radically reducing our emissions India and China will have little incentive to impede their own emissions growth.   And as it’s imperative that they be encouraged to hold the line at 2 tons – doesn’t it follow that we must show that we are serious about getting down to 2 tons ourselves?

However imperfect, Waxman-Markey is a first important national step.  Let’s all take millions of personal steps too.   See the checklist.


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