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PER CAPITA EMISSIONS OF 211 COUNTRIES

Posted on: November 18, 2020

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THIS POST IS A GRAPHICAL SUMMARY OF PER CAPITA FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS BY COUNTRY AND ECONOMY TYPE. THE WORLD’S COUNTRIES ARE CATEGORIZED INTO FOUR ECONOMY TYPES. THESE ARE (1) TOURISM, (2) PETROLEUM PRODUCTION AND EXPORT, (3) INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES, AND (4) DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AKA THE THIRD WORLD.

THIS CLASSIFICATION PROVIDES THE CONTEXT FOR UNDERSTANDING THE SOURCES OF EMISSIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, IN TOURISM ECONOMIES, THE EMISSIONS ARE MOSTLY OF TOURISTS FROM RICH INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIIES WITH THE PER CAPITA COMPUTATION BASED ON A SMALL PERMANENT POPULATION; AND IN PETROLEUM ECONOMIES, THE EMISSIONS ARE MOSTLY FROM PRODUCTION AND NOT FROM CONSUMPTION.

PER CAPITA EMISSION DATA ARE PRESENTED BELOW IN UNITS OF TONNES PER YEAR PER PERSON.

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CHART#1: AVERAGE PER CAPITA EMISSON OF EACH ECONOMY TYPE.

Palolem Stock Photos, Images & Photography | Shutterstock
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CHART#2: PER CAPITA EMISSIONS OF TOURISM ECONOMIES

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CHART#3: PER CAPITA EMISSIONS OF PETROLEUM ECONOMIES

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CHART#4: PER CAPITA EMISSIONS OF INDUSTRIAL ECONOMIES

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CHART#5: PER CAPITA EMISSIONS OF DEVELOPING ECONOMIES

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SUMMARY TABLE HIGHLIGHTING MIN-MAX VALUES

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COMMENTARY

The comparison of fossil fuel emissions of different countries often arises in the context of anthropogenic global warming and climate change. Here we present these per capita emission data classified by economy type. Four economy types are identified in the data. They are 40 tourism economies, 16 petroleum economies, 57 industrial economies, and 98 developing economies. The data are presented graphically above in Chart#2 to Chart#5.

The average per capita emission of these economies in metric tonnes per person are compared in Chart#1 above. Here we find that on a per capita basis petroleum production and export economies have the highest per capita emissions and developing countries the lowest. An oddity is the tourism economy that derives its income mostly from tourists from industrialized countries, comes in second ahead of industrial economies. The other oddity is that the emissions of the petroleum exporters derives from the demand from petroleum products mostly in industrialized countries. These intricate relationships may imply that it may not be possible to understand global emissions in terms of countries.

The variance in per capita emissions among the countries within each economy type shows yet another oddity of the tourism economy. Here we find that the tourism economy has the highest variance among countries in the economy. A peculiarity of the tourism economy is that they are typically small island states with a small resident population but typically with the population at any given time dominated by tourists and their variable emissions distributed on a per capita basis among the small permanent population. This is the likely explanation for the highest observed per capita emission of 58 tonnes found in the tourism economy where the range goes from 0.3 tonnes to 58 tonnes.

The petroleum economy that shows the highest per capita emissions also shows the highest minimum emissions at the country level but not the highest maximum emissions. That honor goes to the tourism economy.

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Palolem Stock Photos, Images & Photography | Shutterstock

CONCLUSION: The per capita emission data are best understood when segregated into economy types with the statistical details of the data in addition to the mean.

For example, when assessing the relative position of China, we find in the data for industrialized economies in Chart#4 above that its per capita emissions of 8 tonnes appears to be somewhat higher than the mean of 7.52 tonnes for industrial economies, but in the context of the standard deviation of 3.43, that difference is not statistically significant. Therefore China can be considered to be average for industrial economies in terms of fossil fuel emissions. Chart#4 above shows that the outliers among industrial economies are Taiwan, South Korea, the USA, and Luxembourg with per capita emissions of 12 tonnes and higher.

Similarly, as seen in Chart#5 above, India’s emission of 1.9 tonnes per person is on the the low end in this category where the leaders from Indonesia to Thailand show per capita emissions of 2.5 to 6.5 tonnes per person. The comparison of emissions by country must first remove the size effect because size does not contain information about the mechanisms that need to be changed for emission reduction. And secondly, the comparison cannot be made across the board because of differences among economy types.

We suggest that emission comparison among countries must be made among countries in the same economic group and the effect of the size of the country must be removed by comparing per capita emission. Important and useful insights are gained in this kind of analysis that is missing in across the board total emissions among countries. The insight into the peculiarities of tourism economies, for example, provide insight into what governs their emissions and how these emissions compare with other economies and countries.

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