Warum gibt es etwas und nicht nichts? (Why is there something rather than nothing?) - Leibniz

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Carbon Balls: crippling the UK economy with eco-nomics

David Rose's article in the Mail on Sunday shows how the proposed Energy Bill currently crashing its way through Parliament sets CO2 emissions targets that could kill off our manufacturing industry. And thanks to what looks like paid influence and bias in access to ministers, the Bill may succeed in becoming law.

But how big a "sinner" is the UK, compared to the rest of the world? Let's take a look.

The countries in the table below (click to enlarge) are responsible for three-quarters of gobal emissions, and (coincidentally, or not) the same proportion of nominal GDP:

(Data sources here and here.)

Let's graph some of the relationships. At 1.47% of the global total, the UK's emissions put it eleventh in the list:

You might expect some of the above because of differences in population numbers. But per person, we're still eleventh in the list:

Understood, nations have different patterns of energy use - and different mixes of energy source.

Perhaps we should look at the relationship between carbon emissions and GDP? Here's what we get when we divide column B by column G:

That puts us in fifteenth place. Maybe it's to do with how the importance of the service sector has increased in the mature (or declining) Western economies.

So far, I can't see a way to stack up the figures that proves why we should lead the way in reducing emissions. Perhaps Rose is right in linking the move to skillful - and dangerous - lobbying and PR.

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1 comment:

A K Haart said...

Weird situation. Decision-makers must have known for years that any UK CO2 mitigation policy is futile. The numbers don't stack up.

In an individual, we'd slap a name on this kind of behaviour and treat it with some kind of therapy.