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Separating the self-flagellation from the greenhouse gas

Separating the self-flagellation from the greenhouse gas

Speaking to the media at the Youth4Climate event last week, Greta Thunberg berated the UK for continuing to extract oil and gas from the North Sea while pretending to be green ahead of the coming COP26 conference.  Not only that, but as the originator of the industrial revolution, Britain is doubly guilty:

“Of course, the climate crisis … more or less it started in the UK since that’s where the industrial revolution started, we started to burn coal there, so of course the UK has an enormous historical responsibility when it comes to historic emissions since the climate crisis is a cumulative crisis.”

So, here’s an interesting question that Greta has probably never had to answer, and which many of my readers will probably get wrong.  If we add up all of the carbon dioxide emitted by households, businesses and industries within the boundaries of what we now call the United Kingdom, when will China – currently the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide – overtake?  2025?  2035?  2050?

No, in fact, China overtook the UK in cumulative carbon dioxide emissions two decades ago in 2002:

The reason for this is that China’s march to industrialisation following its admission to the World Trade Organisation, arrived just at the point when the world’s conventional oil deposits were beginning to deplete.  Moreover, by December 2001, while oil was still in demand, most of the developed states had made deep cuts to their coal use.  This gave China access both to its own deposits and to cheap deposits from around the world.  But coal is a particularly heavy emitter of carbon dioxide, and China’s emissions from coal had already passed those of the UK – for the last time – in 1968:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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