Haresh Daswani: USA not the worst offender after all
Column by Haresh Daswani
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The general public’s opinion that the USA is the worst offender in carbon emissions might actually be misguiding. Nationmaster’s list of carbon dioxide emissions per capita presents otherwise.
While it is true that USA has the highest carbon emissions, it falls to fifth place as an offender per capita. The first four are Middle Eastern countries, with Quatar having a little more than twice the emissions per capita of USA.
Several factors have to be looked into with this study. First and foremost, third world countries will definitely have a lower carbon emissions due to lack of many luxuries and necessities. Therefore, many poorer countries barely have any carbon emissions.
There is a very high point on necessity, though. Middle Eastern countries need air conditioning all throughout the entire day, all throughout the entire year (or until before winter). But twice the level of USA is still very high. Some of the bothering questions focus on what true efforts have these countries put in establishing their commitment to a greener planet. It mostly seems like they are completely self centered to their own luxuries that continuity and sustainability has been discarded. Many projects, architectural in nature, merely showcases half-baked efforts on a truly serious offense, the abuse of natural resources.
Effort has to be put in redesigning a new society altogether. The use of large engined private vehicles is not necessary for the general public. It even becomes more feasible both for the public and the environment if environmentally efficient public transportation systems are put in place. These practices are best implemented by large cities with good metros and efficient buses.
While many points are debatable with regards to Carbon Emissions and Climate Change, one fact still remains the same, that carbon dioxide imbalance in the atmosphere causes smog and many diseases. The world is so persuasive in pushing smoking bans without realizing that the real killers have been vehicles and companies mismanaging their waste and letting everyone have a whiff of the unsavory odorless killers. There is a bigger and more taxing effect on pollution that people have to reconsider and focus on.
The world is sharing air with everyone else. We are not breathing air in our own backyards, but from the backyards of others as well. The cold winds from the winter months over the north go down to other countries, giving them a chilly icy breeze. But the same winds, if coming from a factory, carries the intoxicating effects of mercury as well. Every country has to be responsible because the effects are not isolated only to their country, but to other countries as well.
Therefore, more pressure has to be established on offending countries. If USA’s carbon emission per capita is found too high, the middle eastern countries should also be pushed and prodded to be good neighbors and bring their carbon emissions down. There has to be justice, an economic justice, not to be held hostage by addiction over black gold, and force countries to comply out of the humanistic need to live in a cleaner, greener future.