The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was created to produce the first international agreement on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. However, this task is not as simple as it first appears, as carbon dioxide emissions are not evenly produced by countries. The first major source of carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels, since a significant part of carbon dioxide emissions comes from energy production, industrial processes, and transport. These are not evenly distributed around the world because of the unequal distribution of industry; hence, any agreement would affect certain countries' economies more than others. Consequently, at the moment, the industrialized countries a must bear the main responsibility for reducing emissions of carbon g dioxide to about 22 billion tonnes of carbon per year (see Figure a 4a). North America, Europe, and Asia emit over 90% of the global a industrially produced carbon dioxide. Moreover, historically they i have emitted much more than less-developed countries. ?
The second major source of carbon dioxide emissions is as a result of land-use changes. These emissions come primarily from the cutting down of forests for the purposes of agriculture, urbanization, or roads. When large areas of rainforests are cut down, the land often turns into less productive grasslands with considerably less capacity for storing CO2. Here the pattern of carbon dioxide emissions is different, with South America, Asia, and Africa being responsible for over 90% of present-day land-use change emissions, about 4 billion tonnes of carbon per year (see Figure 4b). This, though, should be viewed against the historical fact that North America and Europe had already changed their own landscape by the beginning of the 20th century. In terms of the amount of carbon dioxide released, industrial processes still significantly outweigh land-use changes.
in thousand tons
4b. CO2 emissions from land-use change in thousand tons
So who are the bad guys in causing this increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide? Of course, it is the developed countries who historically have emitted most of the anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gases, as they have been emitting since the start of the industrial revolution in the latter half of the 1700s. Moreover, a mature industrialized economy is energy-hungry and burns vast quantities of fossil fuels. A major issue in the continuing debate is the sharing of responsibility. Non-industrialized countries are striving to increase their population's standard of living, thereby also increasing their emissions of greenhouse gases, since economic development is closely associated with energy production. The volume of carbon dioxide thus will probably increase, despite the efforts to reduce emissions in industrialized countries. For example, China has the second biggest emissions of carbon dioxide in the world. However, per capita the Chinese emissions are ten times lower than those of the USA, who are h
' u top of the list. So this means that in the USA every person is g responsible for producing ten times more carbon dioxide pollution than in China. So all the draft international agreements | concerning cutting emissions since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 i have for moral reasons not included the developing world, as this ? is seen as an unfair brake on its economic development. However, this is a significant issue because, for example, both China and India are rapidly industrializing, and with a combined population of over 2.3 billion people they will produce a huge amount of pollution.
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