The World's Biggest Global Warming Offenders, Visualized

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New calculations show that the US, China, Russia, Brazil, India, Germany and the UK were responsible for more than 60 per cent of global warming between 1906 and 2005. Here, those numbers are visualized so it's plain for all to see.

The new research was carried out by Damon Matthews of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. New Scientist explains how he did it:

[He] and his colleagues calculated national contributions to warming by weighting each type of emission according to the atmospheric lifetime of the temperature change it causes. Using historical data, they included carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels and changes in land use – such as deforestation. They also accounted for methane, nitrous oxide and sulphate aerosols. These together account for 0.7 °C of the world's 0.74 °C warming between 1906 and 2005.

The US is the clear leader, responsible for 0.15 °C, or 22 per cent of the 0.7 °C warming. China accounts for 9 per cent, Russia for 8 per cent, Brazil and India 7 per cent each, and Germany and the UK for 5 per cent each.


Them, they turned the results into this handy map, where countries are stretched or shrunk in accordance with their contribution to warming in relation to their size. You can barely recognise Western Europe and Japan, while the US comes out badly too. Elsewhere, Russia, China and Brazil stay roughly the same, while Canada, Australia and most of Africa become tiny.

Of course, judging by population gives a slightly different view: then, the top seven are made up of the wealthiest nations, including Russia, while India and China slide down the leaderboard. However you cut it, though, the US and Western Europe need to clean up their act. [Environmental Research Letters via New Scientist]