Written by Franchesca Araujo
It's easy to look at emissions statistics by country and come to a conclusion that might not be entirely true. Emission rates by country can be misleading, since they do not adequately shed light on individual contributions.
Countries with big populations, like China and India, are often portrayed as contributing disproportionately to the climate crisis by those who do not realize that China has 1.34 billion residents while the United States has 311.1 million. What kinds of stark differences can we find between other nations and our own when we compare how much we emit, versus how much the average person in the Global South emits? What happens when we look at emissions per person and account for how much each person in their respective country consumes? How can this lead us to think about people's inherent right to a better quality of life? And how does Global South-blaming rhetoric unfairly demonize that human right?
Read this short article to learn about who contributes the most to the climate crisis and how this challenges prevalent first-world myths.
“It’s over-consumption, not population growth, that is the fundamental problem: By almost any measure, a small portion of the world’s people — those in the affluent, developed world — use up most of the Earth’s resources and produce most of its greenhouse gas emissions,” says Fred Pearce.