How to avoid being green – blame China

20130821-224753.jpg I don’t know whether the following is restricted to Australia or whether it’s an excuse used around the world but here it is “the Chinese produce as much carbon emissions every day that we could save over the next 10 years so why bother”. I heard it today and it bothers me.

A few months back the same sentiment was expressed about the fact that China was now consuming more coal than the rest of the world combined. I wrote about it because it bothered me. The population of China will always skew any comparison. Australia consumes 2 times as much coal per person than China.

So what about emissions?

China produces 7 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, Australia produces 400 million tonnes a year.

China’s one day of emissions would wipe out a 5% saving of Australia’s annual emissions.

So, yeah the statement is true(ish). Why does it bother me then?

Well, let’s look at it per person.

China emits 5.3 tonnes of CO2 per person per year, Australia emits 18.3 tonnes CO2 per person per year.

An Australian’s one week of emissions would wipe out a 5% saving of a Chinese’s annual emissions.

So if you are living in China “the average Australian produces as much carbon emissions in a week that we could save over the next 10 years so why bother”.

We need to stop blaming the size of the population of China for our own inaction. We consume more than China does, we emit more than China does and we pollute more than China does.

Get over it and get on with it.

3 Comments on “How to avoid being green – blame China

  1. I read your fantastic article about blaming china as an excuse for not being green (I have been guilty of that too). I haven’t done much research into this yet, but here are some of my initial thoughts:

    You compared Australia’s carbon emission with China’s. However I was wondering is that an apple to apple comparison ? Australia is nearly all urbanized whereas China still has a long way to go.

    Also, I thought that the impact china has on the environment is far more than any of the smaller countries ( by population) even if they have a higher co2/capita. If Australia as an example raises its co2 / capita by lets say 1 it will have a total different impact to the world if china does the same.
    Countries with gigantic populations need to be more careful as even their capita co2 is low, their policies/laws effect billions of their people at once.

    I do understand the point of the article was to do whatever we can do to protect the planet and not finger point.

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