Climate change figures for emissions per head of population tells a different story - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: John Heawood, Eastward Avenue, York.

CONGRATULATIONS on your excellent climate change supplement, upholding your admirable record on this crucial topic. But I have one reservation.

Your front page comment (October 30) singles out China and Russia, absentees from COP26, as “two of the world’s biggest polluters”. Andrew Vine condemns them both. But this isn’t fair.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Both countries have high CO2 emissions. But it’s people who cause those emissions, and surely it’s more realistic, and fairer, to rank countries by emissions per head of population – which tell a different story.

A giant globe hangs from the ceiling as delegates attend on day one of the COP 26 United Nations Climate Change Conference on October 31, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. 2021 sees the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images).

Read More

Read More
Yorkshire families urged to take action as new climate change report is 'code re...

Going deeper, we find that the top four nations owe their position not just to high fossil fuel production but also to their relatively small populations

And looking at actual emissions, we discover a huge gap between the USA and the next five nations. The US emits 15.74 tonnes of CO2 per head each year, while China emits 7.72 tonnes: just half as much.

Even these figures can mislead. Experts point out that if we hold countries accountable, not just for their own CO2 production, but also for the CO2 produced by fossil fuels and manufactured goods they import from other countries, then the USA and other high-consuming countries move even higher on the emissions table, and China and Russia, both high-production countries, move lower.

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, British prime Minister Boris Johnson and Sir David Attenborough attend the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 at SECC on November 1, 2021 in Glasgow. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images).

So China and Russia aren’t attending COP26? Given our relentless demonisation of both nations, I’m not surprised.

From: Philip Mitchell, Dewsbury.

BROWSING through some old children’s magazines recently, I came across the headline, “Why is the World Hotting Up?” It was written exactly 57 years ago.

Why, then, have we now got to the point where Prime Minister Boris Johnson says “If we don’t act now, it will be too late?”

When I moved to Dewsbury recently, I decided to switch to a renewable energy company. Despite my best intentions, I hesitated when I considered the extra cost of ditching natural gas.

Thankfully, I have been able to afford it, but until we shut down all the conventional power stations, the most effective solution is to insulate all of those buildings which can be.

This can’t be left to individual choice, the Government is going to have to do it, and raise taxes. The wealthy have made fortunes from oil and gas, it is they who must pay to get us out of this mess.

From: Richard Smithson, Chesterfield.

ANDREW Vine makes some good points about the pressing need to address climate change (The Yorkshire Post, October 30). However, citing the example of the erosion of the East Coast down to Spurn Point is not the best example.

This section of coast has been eroding fast for thousands of years. When the Romans were in Britain, the coastline on this stretch was 1.5 miles further out than today.

As global warming by all accounts started with the advent of the industrial age, we have to see this as a natural event, not something we are responsible for. I am not doubting that warming is taking place, but this is not an example of it.

From: Barrie Crowther, Walton, Wakefield.

BRILLIANT news from British company JCB on its commitment to green hydrogen power. This source of power should have been a priority long ago to combat CO2 emissions. Electric power supply will in the long run not be sustainable unless batteries are significantly improved.

From: Neil Richardson, Kirkheaton.

BEFORE the UK continues its commitment to huge structural changes (Paul Hudson, The Yorkshire Post, October 30), should the technologies which replace fossil fuels not only need to be affordable but also efficacious and able to produce sufficient energy when it is needed?