May 11, 2006

Little Green Data Book 2006

The World Bank put out the “Little Green Data Book” for 2006. This is a comprehensive guide to environmental statistics, with data from 222 countries, territories and regions. It’s a statistical portrait of the state of the world and the impacts of human activity. The usual trends:

1. Greenhouse gases are on the rise, China and India show rapid increase.
2. Rich countries consume more than half the energy produced in the globe.
3. Poor countries still depending on traditional fuels.

The press reports that the United States accounts for 24 percent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas linked to global warming. The countries of the European Monetary Union contribute 10 percent. But China and India are catching up. China, the world's second-largest polluter after the United States, increased carbon dioxide emissions by 33 percent between 1992 and 2002. India's emissions rose 57 percent over the same period. Those likely to suffer most from the consequences of these emissions, including the increasingly severe weather patterns associated with global climate change, are farmers in the poorest parts of the world.

(Sorry about the graph. It reads: United States, China, European Monetary Union, Russian Federation, India, Japan, and Rest of the World. You can get the idea.)

Of interest to me are the per capita statistics that always seem to hide from the press. Canada has 559 cars per 1000 people, the U.S. has 482, and China is running at 8 per 1000. You got to keep an eye on those Canadians. The politics of the World Bank would have us believe we need to keep our cars, and China can’t have theirs. But it point of fact, they really don’t even have any…yet. Can we all settle on 250 per 1000? At least then we could car pool.

Then when we look at energy usage per capita (in kilograms of oil equivalent), we see Canada at 8240, the U.S. at 7843, and China down at 1094. FYI, Sub-Saharan Africa runs at 681 kg oil equiv per person. Again we see that the Canadians seem to be slipping through the environmental police with higher numbers than I would have expected. Electricity per capita: Canada 17,290 kWh per person, U.S. 13,078 per person, and China uses only 1,379. Percentage of electricity produced through coal burning: Canada – 19.3%, U.S. – 51.4 %, and China at 79.4 %.

Internal fresh water resources per capita are reported in cubic meters. Canada has 89,134 cubic meters of fresh water per person. The U.S is at 9,535, and China stands thirsty with 2,170. The under-five mortality rates per 1000 live births place Canada and the U.S. at 6 and 8 respectively, with China up at 31. Mortality rates and water use are what will actually end up changing what’s left of the face of the world. That is, after were done burning up all the coal and oil.

What does environmental discipleship look like at an international level? I would assume it still follows the “I do – you watch” step at the beginning. It look like everyone's following suit on that point. But it's more of a "you got - I want too" step. Wow, food for thought as I drive to work in my beat up truck to help ranchers and farmers conserve their land’s resources.

1 comment:

Steve S. said...


...those darn kanucks!

Let's throw copies of the "Little Green Data Book 2006" at Rachel!!!!