US responsible for 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions over past 150 years

Jeremy Hance
May 31, 2009

In the past 150 years, the United States has emitted more greenhouse gas emissions than any other nation in the world, according to data by the World Resources Institute. In fact, US emissions account for 29 percent of the world’s total since the mid-1800s. The US emitted 328,264 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) in the past 150 years, which is over 3 times the amount emitted by China in the same century-and-a-half.

The US also leads in per capita emissions. In 2005 the US emitted 23.5 tons of greenhouse gases per person the country, this was four times as much as China’s (5.5 tons per person) and over 13 times as much as India’s (1.7 tons per person).

In the report "America's Share of the Climate Crisis", which employs World Resources Institute data, the environmental group Greenpeace argues that these statistics puts the brunt of responsibility regarding global climate change square on the shoulders of the US, despite recent attention on developing nations like China and India.

Greenpeace has withdrawn its support for the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that is currently making its way through the legislature. The organization has argued that polluting industries have had too much say in shaping—and watering down—the bill. Greenpeace is now calling on President Obama and the EPA to take action into their own hands to curb the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (May 31, 2009).

US responsible for 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions over past 150 years.