U.S. No Longer #1…in Per-Capita Carbon Dioxide Pollution

Friday, September 11, 2009

The United States is no longer the worst per-capita polluter when it comes to contributing to the problem of global warming. Australia is now number one. But neither country, nor most other industrial nations, is at risk of suffering from the worst effects of climate change. In fact, one of the most vulnerable countries happens to be the one that the United States is spending billions of dollars on in the hopes of stabilizing it: Afghanistan.

According to an assessment by the consultancy group, Maplecroft, Australia tops the CO2 Energy Emissions Index, which measures how much carbon dioxide a country spews into the atmosphere relative to its population size. Australia at 20.58 tons of CO2 per person annually was slightly higher than the U.S., which came in at 19.78. The remaining top 5 on the index were Canada, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.

These countries, however, won’t bear the worst that Mother Nature has to offer in the future as weather patterns and sea levels change. Of the 28 nations considered to be at “extreme risk,” 22 are in Africa, with Somalia ranked No. 1. The second and third most vulnerable are Haiti and Afghanistan.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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