Geography - Carbon emissions
It was decided at the Kyoto Conference that the standard of living in
the north was creating much greater emissions of carbon dioxide than that
of the countries of the south. This graph shows emissions of carbon dioxide
Add up the north  versus south  percentages. You will find that less
than 20% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions since 1800 have been from
countries in the south. Today the south produces 40% of the world's carbon
emissions. US scientists have predicted that China will be the world's
leading producer of carbon dioxide by 2015. Indian scientists, from their
Centre for Science, like to compare each citizen's production of carbon
dioxide. They estimate that one US citizen produces 8 times more carbon
dioxide than a Chinese citizen and 16 times more than the average Indian
citizen. Even when carbon dioxide emissions from the north and the south
are equal it will still mean that the 20% of the world's population who
live in the north, will be producing 50% of all carbon dioxide emissions.
India and China are arguing that equity means survival emissions for the
south compared to luxury emissions for the north.
These places have a poorer standard of living; the residents have fewer
possessions, and a reduced access to electricity, petrol driven transport
or heating/cooling in their homes. The Kyoto conference recognised this and
decided that the economic growth of southern economies should not be
stalled by requirements to reduce energy usage.
Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Canada and
Bulgaria are all countries that have mountains and significant winter
snowfalls. These conditions make the generation of hydro-electricity viable
as a major source of energy. Melt water can be stored and used to drive
turbines. This is a sustainable power resource, which does not add to
global warming, and therefore rising sea levels.
Australia said that its economy was still growing and that we rely heavily
on the production of energy from the burning of fossil fuels 
(particularly coal). Australia argued that we should be able to trade
carbon credits by planting trees against the emissions from our coal
burning power stations. The current revegetation programs and sustainable
land management methods, Australia argued, for carbon to be absorbed rather
than released into the atmosphere. The farmers in Queensland in late 1999
were of course clearing trees far more quickly than they were being
planted. At a local and domestic scale in Australia there are efforts being
made to use electricity more efficiently. For example, the use of five star
ratings for electrical appliances, the mandatory insulation of all new
homes to reduce the use of energy for heating and cooling, and the 'Solar
Challenge' which is an annual car race that promotes the development of
solar energy technologies.
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