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Global warming’s biggest offenders

Posted on January 16, 2014
Global warming's biggest offenders

When it comes to global warming, there are seven big contributors: the United States, China, Russia, Brazil, India, Germany and the United Kingdom. A new study published in Environmental Research Letters reveals that these countries were collectively responsible for more than 60 per cent of pre-2005 global warming. Uniquely, it also assigns a temperature change value to each country that reflects its contribution to observed global warming.

The study was conducted at Concordia under the leadership of Damon Matthews, an associate professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment. In a straight ranking, the U.S. is an unambiguous leader, responsible for a global temperature increase of 0.15 C. That’s close to 20 per cent of the observed warming.

China and Russia account for around eight per cent each; Brazil and India seven per cent; and Germany and the U.K. around five per cent each. Canada comes in in 10th place, just after France and Indonesia. Although it may seem surprising that less industrialized countries, including Brazil and Indonesia, ranked so highly, their positions reflect carbon dioxide emissions related to deforestation.

In the study, the research team used a new methodology to calculate national contributions to global warming. It weighted each type of emission according to the atmospheric lifetime of the temperature change it caused. Using data from 1750 onward, the team accounted for carbon dioxide contributions from fossil fuel burning and land-use change, along with methane, nitrous oxide and sulphate aerosol emissions.

Read more at: Phys.org

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