EuropeanEconomicArea and CO2 rankings

Being a bit of a hippy I’m often drawn to those lists that rank the world’s  nations according to their degradation of our environment. The USA, Russia, China and India most often occupy the seats as the planet’s worst CO2 emission offenders. The United Kingdom being a bit further down the lists (admittedly not much further down) allows me to remain smug in the knowledge that my fair island isn’t one of the top contributors to global warming. However, one thing that does snag as unfair about the environmental shame tallies is that countries that produce the most CO2, more often than not have some of the largest populations. This prompted me to attempt to construct a new list. Rather than the countries studied being ranked based on their total emissions I have compiled a ranking based on carbon and CO2 contribution relative to their population, namely per 10,000 people. The equation used is embarrassingly simple: Total CO2 from greenhouses gases/population from year of study x 10,000. Given than I am no statistician it’s safe to assume that the maths is far too basic to provide an accurate picture but I hope it does produce a rough guideline.

When I first embarked into this waste of my free time I intended to cover every nation. This proved unfeasible because countries that produced the least CO2 tended to have fairly undeveloped economies. In order to rectify this I placed a number of filters in place such as United Nations membership; whether the country was placed on the United Nations ‘Least Developed Nations’ listing; and whether they fit within the top 70World Bank and IMF GDP lists. The issue with these filters is that they often excluded larger economies from Asia such as India, whilst allowing very small countries such as Liechtenstein into the study.

Eventually, I concluded to start with a much smaller sample of countries: those within European Economic Area (henceforth EEA). My reasoning for this was that the countries are fairly close together but produce very different amounts of emissions. Furthermore, their are large differences in populations e.g. Iceland has a population of less than 500,000 compared to countries such as Germany and Italy with a population exceeding ten million. This will allow for future examination into population size and possible links to greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, seeing as all these countries are within the EEA they will have fairly similar capitalist based economies with varying GPD and social policy which will allow for study into finances, politics and taxation and their correlation with environmental degradation.

The following lists are taken from two studies.The first is from the World Bank (2012) which highlights the world’s nations by “Total greenhouse gas emissions (kt of CO2 equivalent)”. The second study is from the Carbon Dioxide Analysis Center (2013) which ranks countries by “total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, cement production and gas flaring expressed in thousand metric tons of carbon”. I utilised the data from both investigations to examine contribution of each EEA nation for an average of 10,000 people. The total populations were taken from the World Bank website. Liechtenstein was removed from the rankings due to the countries exclusion from the World Bank 2012 study, possibly due to the low level of inhabitants (less than 45,000) and the negligible CO2 contribution. Links to the sources will follow the tables below.

Table 1:

Country Total Population (2012) to nearest 10,000 Total greenhouse gas emissions (kt of CO2 equivalent)2012 World Bank data Greenhouse gas emissions per 10,000 people (kt of CO2 equivalent) approx
Malta 419,000 1,921 45.85
Denmark 9,520,000 53,703 56.41
Romania 20,100,000 121,762 60.58
Hungary 9,920,000 62,988 63.5
Cyprus 1,130,000 7,431 65.76
Switzerland 8,000,000 54,108 67.64
Latvia 2,030,000 13,944 68.69
Portugal 10,500,000 72,524 69.07
Sweden 9,520,000 65,768 69.08
Croatia 4,270,000 30,421 71.24
Spain 46,800,000 348,257 74.41
France 65,700,000 499,147 75.97
Italy 59,500,000 482,634 81.11
Slovakia 5,410,000 46,301 85.58
Greece 11,000,000 100,571 91.43
United Kingdom 63,700,000 585,780 91.96
Bulgaria 7,310,000 67,943 92.95
Lithuania 2,990,000 29,442 98.47
Slovenia 2,060,000 21,075 102.31
Austria 8,430,000 90,460 107.31
Poland 38,100,000 414,607 108.82
Netherlands 16,800,000 195,874 116.59
Germany 80,400,000 951,717 118.37
Belgium 11,000,000 133,374 121.25
Norway 5,020,000 63,537 126.57
Finland 5,410,000 69,073 127.68
Czech Republic 10,500,000 138,957 132.34
Ireland 4,590,000 62,433 136.02
Iceland 321,000 5,515 171.81
Estonia 1,320,000 23,293 176.46
Luxembourg 531,000 12,611 237.5

Table 2:

Country Total Population (2013) to nearest 10,000 total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, cement production and gas flaring expressed in thousand metric tons of carbon(2013) total CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, cement production and gas flaring expressed in thousand metric tons of carbon(2013) per 10,000 persons approx
 
Latvia 2,010,000 1,931 9.61
Romania 20,000,000 19,290 9.65
Croatia 4,260,000 4,830 11.34
Hungary 9,890,000 11,301 11.43
Lithuania 2,960,000 3,447 11.65
Portugal 10,500,000 12,616 12.02
Sweden 9,600,000 12,088 12.59
Switzerland 8,090,000 11,003 13.6
France 66,000,000 90,862 13.77
Spain 46,600,000 64,622 13.87
Cyprus 1,140,000 1,622 14.23
Malta 423,000 605 14.3
Bulgaria 7,270,000 10,789 14.84
Italy 60,200,000 94,019 15.62
Iceland 324,000 537 16.57
Slovakia 5,410,000 9,184 16.98
Greece 11,000,000 18,859 17.14
Denmark 5,610,000 10,381 18.5
Slovenia 2,060,000 3,938 19.12
United Kingdom 64,100,000 124,754 19.46
Austria 8,480,000 17,019 20.07
Ireland 4,600,000 9,535 20.73
Poland 38,000,000 82,447 21.7
Belgium 11,200,000 25,530 22.79
Finland 5,440,000 12,626 23.21
Germany 82,100,000 206,521 25.15
Czech Republic 10,500,000 26,905 25.62
Netherlands 16,800,000 46,352 27.59
Norway 5,080,000 16,263 32.01
Estonia 1,320,000 5,431 41.14
Luxembourg 543,000 2,771 51.03

Sources

Table 1:Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data-

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.GHGT.KT.CE?name_desc=false

Table 2: Carbon from fossil fuel burning etc Data-

http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_coun.html

Table 1 & 2: Population Data-

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL

 

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