Carbon map shows Asia is most vulnerable to climate change
Author: Jessica Laporte
Published: Friday, 26 September 2014
A map depicting global carbon emissions reveals that Asia is the most susceptible to the potential perils of climate change.
As global leaders join to discuss green policy at the UN Climate Change summit in New York this week, the map (source: The Guardian) confirms the world’s poorest regions will continue to bear the brunt of excess greenhouse gas emissions. The map displays all manner of global disparities including population growth, wealth, poverty and vulnerability to natural disasters. The world’s most prolific pollution offenders are exposed which begs the question: who is responsible for making it better?
The US remains the globe’s biggest polluter ranking highest for carbon emissions consumed from goods and services. The country has shown an emissions increase of nearly 10% in the period 1990-2013.
Green’s most wanted: China
Asia is home to half the globe’s population and the most at risk to the consequences of climate change with China being the key green criminal. China’s emissions change shows an astounding increase of 305% from 1990 to 2013. The Global Carbon Project reports from 2013 demonstrate that China surpassed Europe in carbon emissions (fossil fuels burned) per capita. Alarmingly, China tops the list for being the most exposed to the devastation of severe weather conditions. Currently 1.8 million civilians have been displaced or left homeless from floods or extreme weather and this figure is only set to inflate to further catastrophic levels.
On the second day of this week’s summit, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli has vowed to step up the country’s approach to climate change through extensive measures to cap carbon emissions by 45% by 2020. Gaoli said: “China will make even greater effort to address climate change and take on international responsibilities.”
Africa is another big loser to climate change. Despite having the fastest growing population, carbon consumption levels (greenhouse gasses emitted from goods/services) remain low yet it is the second biggest continental victim to weather disasters. However, closer examination shows that Africa's emissions change have dramatically increased since the early 1990's. Nambia alone records a 12, 674% rise.
Extreme poverty levels in both Asia and Africa increase vulnerability to climate change. Lack of funds means limited access to adequate health facilities should disaster strike and incapacity to devise environmental protection programmes.
The summit that has mattered most
It is undeniable this year’s summit has received significant coverage which suggests the green question is gaining momentum on global political agendas. 120 presidents and prime ministers have gathered making it the biggest summit since 2009. On Sunday 21st September 2014, climate change demonstrations were held in over 100 countries with 400,000 people taking to the streets of New York.
A spokesperson from the Eco Experts said: “The map clearly highlights the imbalance between those countries most responsible and those countries which are most at risk from climate change. Clearly this is a global issue which requires a global solution. There is no doubt that the UK has made huge progress in reducing its carbon emissions over the past 20 years but we can definitely go further.”