A carbon-ated view of the world

November 7, 2007

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Take a look at the world through carbon-colored glasses. This double map, by Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin, offers a graphic way to see the biggest emitters of climate-warming carbon, and at the countries that suffer most from carbon-induced climate change.

The top map shows per capita carbon emissions, the bottom shows the climate-related burden of disease in different regions of the world. It’s fairly plain to see in the small inset maps that are in color; it’s even easier to track in the big gray maps.

On the emissions map, the United States is a big fatso, the countries of Western Europe are a bit hefty, and China and India look almost as they would on a regular map and Africa and Latin America are tiny. The disease-impact map tells a different story: the United States, Europe and Russia are thinner than Paris fashion models and China is notably svelte, while South Asia, Africa and the Middle East are elephantine.

Patz, a professor at the university’s medical school and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, came up with the graphic to show the inequity of the consequences of climate change, and he sees this as an ethical crisis.

“Those most at risk from climate change are the least responsible for causing the problem,” Patz told reporters at a meeting of the American Public Health Association. “But there’s a caveat … I wouldn’t want Americans to think that bad health outcomes from climate change are out there, somewhere. Because we’re in a globalized world, an increase in disease anywhere could be adverse to our own health.”

More information is available in a Reuters story here and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison here.

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Hi Deborah,

I recently read your article about the publics belief that oil will soon be running out. I think you will find the following Youtube video very interesting. An acclaimed academic explaining the peak oil issue (in laymans terms – I’ve recalculated the figures and they do appear to stack up.).
This is probably the most important video on youtube !
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpB SY&feature=related

Posted by justice levi | Report as abusive