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A Daily Snapshot Of Carbon Usage In Figures

Graphic showing the consumption of CO2 per person per year in various regions around the world, ahead of an IPCC report on climate change. Graphic courtesy AFP.
by Anne Chaon
Paris (AFP) Jan 23, 2007
Greenhouse-gas pollution, the driver for dangerous global warming, is all around us -- and almost as invisible are the huge disparities in individual emissions around the world and carbon cost of the things we buy. For instance, the average American, whose lifestyle is based on profligate burning of oil, gas and coal, causes nearly 10 times more carbon pollution than the average Kenyan.

And a bottle of champagne costs 1.7 kilos (3.75 pounds) in carbon -- the pollution emitted by machinery to cultivate the vines, grow and treat the grapes, produce, fill and store the bottle and transport it to a shop where it is sold.

The world's biggest single polluter is the United States, which by itself accounts for about a quarter of global emissions of greenhouse gases, followed by China.

Here is a snapshot in figures of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas, according to lifestyle, product and sector:

PER CAPITA CO2 (Source: International Energy Agency, IEA. Figures are in tonnes of CO2 per person per year)

- North America: United States 19.5 tonnes; Canada 17; Mexico 3.7

- Europe: Germany 10.2 tonnes; Britain 9.1; France 6.4

- Asia-Pacific: Australia 17.1 tonnes; New Zealand 8.3; China 3.2; India 1; Bangladesh 0.2

- Middle East-North Africa: Saudi Arabia 13.3 tonnes; Algeria 2.5

- Africa: South Africa 8.2 tonnes; Kenya 0.2

POLLUTION PER ACTIVITY (On the basis of a western Europe lifestyle, where one litre of petrol, or gasoline, causes 2.7 kilos (5.9 pounds) of CO2. Source: Jean-Marc Jancovici, French climate and energy consultant)

- One year of car driving (14,000 kilometers, 8,750 miles): 3.78 tonnes of CO2

- Return flight Paris-New York, second class: 1.6 tonnes of CO2

- One year's lighting for average-sized home: Depends on energy source, varying from four kilos (8.8 pounds) of CO2 for hydro to 400 kilos (880 pounds) for coal-fired plant.

- One year's heating oil for 100m2 (1,076-square-feet) dwelling: 4.86 tonnes of CO2.

- One kilo (2.2 pounds) of beef, cooked and ready to eat: 3.7 kilos (8.14 pounds) of CO2. Figure includes proportionate cost of making tractor and agriculture chemicals, does not include greenhouse-gas emissions from cows and fertilisers.

- One kilo (2.2 pounds) of locally-caught fish: 1.6 kilos (3.5 pounds) of CO2

- One kilo (2.2 pounds) of ocean-caught tuna: 3.2 kilos (7.04 pounds) of CO2

- One kilo (2.2 pounds) of prawns (shrimp): 8 kilos (17.6 pounds) of CO2

- One bottle of champagne: 1.7 kilos (3.75 pounds) of CO2

- US- or Asian-made flat screen for computer: 1.3 tonnes (2.9 pounds) of CO2


- Power production: 40 percent

- Transport: 21 percent

- Industry: 17 percent

- Buildings: 14 percent

- Other sectors: 8 percent.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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