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These Maps Show Which Countries Are Most Responsible For The Last Century’s Temperature Rise
January 17, 2014
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The rise in global temperatures over the past century has been demonstrated repeatedly, but one question that remains is, "Who's responsible?"

A new report headed by Damon Matthews of Concordia University provides some answers to that question. Matthews and his colleagues studied historical data documenting emissions between 1906 and 2005, and used it to calculate the change in temperature that occurred as a result. Overall, the study found that the world has increased in temperature by 0.74 C during that time. In absolute terms, the U.S. emerges as the largest culprit: it's responsible for 0.15 C of that shift, with China, Russia, Brazil and India rounding out the top five. The map below, produced for the report, demonstrates the data. 

Canada's contribution to warming totals 0.013 C in the model — bad enough to be 10th worst on the list.

The map below, however, puts things in a different perspective. 

This map shows the main contributors to global warming when you account for population. Canada becomes the third-worst climate change offender per capita, trailing only the US and the United Kingdom.

Not everyone agrees that such rankings should determine a country's responsibility. Speaking to the New Scientist, Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo, Norway asked: "Is it fair to blame the UK for what it did in 1850?"

Michel den Elzen from PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in The Hague further argued that "emerging economies benefit from efficient technologies that weren't available to developed countries during their industrial revolution."

The Concordia study comes just as a draft UN report was leaked to the media stating that, despite global efforts, greenhouse gases grew an average of 2.2 per cent per year from 2000 to 2010, compared with 1.3 per cent per year from 1970 to 2000. According to AP, the report further outlined the measures required to limit the increase in global temperature to less than 2 C this century — a goal agreed to at a 2009 UN climate change conference. To hit the target, which some scientists believe would help prevent the worst impacts of climate change,greenhouse gas emissions would need to be reduced to 40-70 per cent of 2010 levels by 2050. 

Top 10 Total Contributors to Warming

  1. United States
  2. China 
  3. Russia 
  4. Brazil 
  5. India
  6. Germany
  7. United Kingdom
  8. France 
  9. Indonesia 
  10. Canada 

Top 10 Contributors to Warming Per Billion People

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. Canada
  4. Russia
  5. Germany 
  6. Netherlands
  7. Australia
  8. Brazil
  9. France
  10. Venezuela

Via Gizmodo

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