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US to default on Carbon Debt

Carbon DebtThe United States is on the brink of defaulting on government debt but the vastly more serious matter unreported by Mainstream media is that the US is about to default on and massively expand its Carbon Debt. The world has a terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution budget (global Carbon Credit) that must not be exceeded if we are to avoid a catastrophic 2C temperature rise. Unfortunately, the US, Australia and Canada have effectively used up their “fair shares” of this budget, are now stealing the Carbon Credit  of other countries and are threatening the world with climate catastrophe.

The worsening climate crisis means that the world has to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution and eventually reach zero emissions. Indeed top climate scientists and biologists are telling us that reaching zero emissions is not enough – we then have to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration from the current 400 parts per million (ppm) to 350 ppm (according to 350 dot org) and thence to 300 ppm (according to the latest science-informed 300 dot org ). Because of extraordinary Mainstream media censorship in the Western Murdochracies, Lobbyocracies and Corporatocracies (Google  “Mainstream Media Lying”,  “Mainstream Media Censorship”, Censorship by the BBC”) ,  very few Westerners appreciate to what extent their country has  already exceeded its “fair share” of permissible global GHG pollution before science-demanded zero emissions in 2050.

In 2009 the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) determined that for a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2 degree C temperature rise, the World must pollute less than 600 Gt CO2 (600 billion tonnes CO2) between 2010 and essentially zero emissions in 2050. Unfortunately, Australia (through disproportionately huge annual fossil fuel burning) and Belize (through disproportionately huge annual deforestation) have already used up their “share” of this terminal greenhouse gas (GHG) budget relative to 2013, as have Qatar, Guyana, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Antigua and Bermuda, Zambia, Canada and Bahrain. Relative to 2013, the US has only 0.1 year to go before it defaults on this key obligation not to exceed its “fair share” of the world’s terminal GHG pollution budget i.e. it has effectively defaulted. The analysis below will tell you how many years your country has left before it exceeds its “fair share” of atmospheric GHG pollution.

The 2009 Report of the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (WBGU, Wissenshaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen) was entitled “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach” and crucially stated: “The budget of CO2 emissions still available worldwide could be derived from the 2 degree C guard rail. By the middle of the 21st century a maximum of approximately 750 Gt CO2 (billion metric tons) may be released into the Earth’s atmosphere if the guard rail is to be adhered to with a probability of 67%. If we raise the probability to 75%, the cumulative emissions within this period would even have to remain below 600 Gt CO2. In any case, only a small amount of CO2 may be emitted worldwide after 2050. Thus, the era of an economy driven by fossil fuels will definitely have to come to an end within the first half of this century” (see WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”).

The consequences of this declaration of less than 600 Gt CO2 in emissions for a 75% chance of avoiding 2 degree C temperature rise are profound. Thus, would you board a plane if it had a 25% chance of crashing? Further, the average world population in the period 2010 and 2050 will be 8.321 billion (see UN Population Division, 2010 Revision). Accordingly the per capita share of this terminal CO2 pollution budget is less than 600 billion tonnes CO2/8.321 billion people = less than 72.1 tonnes CO2 per person.

Using data for the annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) (including land use change) for every country in the world in 2000 (see “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”, Wikipedia) one could determine how many years left at current rates of GHG pollution (in units of CO2-e or CO2-equivalent i.e. taking other GHGs into account) before a given country uses up its “share” (the available data for Uruguay was the 2000 per capita data without the land use contribution included). Thus for Australia 72.1 tonnes CO2-e per person / 25.9 tonnes CO2- per person per year in 2000 = 2.8 years left relative to 2010 and based on the 2000 data, noting that this analysis does not take into account historical pollution of the atmosphere (see “Years left to zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by country relative to 2010” ).

However it is now 2013 and the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change has just released its 5th Assessment Report (see IPCC, “Summary for policymakers”, 2013). Accordingly it is timely to re-assess how many years left to zero emissions for all countries in the world relative to 2013. This is simply achieved by subtracting 3 years from the estimates relative to 2010.

(A). Years left for zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for all countries relative to the year 2013 were simply determined by subtracting THREE (3) years from the years left to zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to 2010 (Google "Years left to zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to 2010").

Countries that have already exceed their “fair share” or must cease GHG pollution within 2 years relative to 2013.

Belize (-2.2 years), Qatar (-1.7), Guyana (-1.6), Malaysia (-1.1), United Arab Emirates (-1.0), Kuwait (-0.6), Papua New Guinea (-0.5), Brunei (-0.2), Australia (-0.2; -1.9 if including its huge GHG Exports), Antigua & Barbuda (-0.2), Zambia (-0.1), Canada (0.0), Bahrain (0.0), United States (0.1), Trinidad & Tobago (0.3), Luxembourg (0.4), Panama (0.7), New Zealand (0.7), Estonia (1.0), Botswana (1.1), Ireland (1.3), Saudi Arabia (1.4), Venezuela (1.6), Indonesia (1.8), Equatorial Guinea (2.0), Belgium (2.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 2-7 years relative to 2013.

Turkmenistan (2.1 years), Singapore (2.1), Czech Republic (2.2), Liberia (2.2), Netherlands (2.3), Russia (2.3), Nicaragua (2.4), Finland (2.5), Oman (2.6), Palau (2.6), Brazil (2.6), Denmark (2.8). Germany (2.9), Mongolia (3.1), Israel (3.1), Nauru (3.2), Norway (3.3), South Korea (3.5), Kazakhstan (3.6), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (3.6), Libya (3.7), Greece (3.7), Japan (3.7), Myanmar (3.7), Taiwan (3.8), Cyprus (4.0), Slovenia (4.1), Cambodia (4.1), Austria (4.2), Iceland (4.2), Peru (4.3), Paraguay (4.3), Ukraine (4.4), Poland (4.5), South Africa (4.6), Argentina (4.8), Slovakia (4.8), Spain (4.8), Italy (4.8), Central African Republic (5.0), France (5.3), Suriname (5.4), Belarus (5.4), Gabon (5.6), Ecuador (5.8), Bolivia (5.9), Uruguay (6.5), Cameroon (6.5), Iran (6.5), Côte d’Ivoire (6.6), Sweden (6.6), Seychelles (6.7), Guatemala (6.7), Bulgaria (6.7), Serbia & Montenegro (6.7), Hungary (6.7), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (6.7), Uzbekistan (6.9), Portugal (7.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 7-18 years relative to 2013.

Switzerland (7.2 years), Azerbaijan (7.6), Angola (7.8), Bahamas (7.9), Benin (8.1), Zimbabwe (8.1), Laos (8.3), Mexico (8.3), Nepal (8.4), Colombia (8.4), Namibia (8.4), Chile (8.4), Malta (8.8), Congo, Republic (9.0), Madagascar (9.0), Croatia (9.2), Jamaica (9.2), Macedonia (9.4), Barbados (9.4), Latvia (9.6), Mauritania (9.9), Turkey (9.9), Romania (10.1), Lithuania (10.4), Costa Rica (10.4), Lebanon (10.6), North Korea (10.9), Thailand (11.1), Jordan (11.7), Honduras (12.3), Sudan (12.7), Bosnia & Herzegovina (13.0), Algeria (14.2), Iraq (14.2), Sierra Leone (14.2), Syria (15.0), China (15.5), Tunisia (16.5), Dominican Republic (17.6 years).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 18-27 years relative to 2013.

St Kitts & Nevis (18.8), Nigeria (18.8), Fiji (18.8), Guinea (19.5), Mauritius (19.5), Cuba (20.3), Togo (20.3), Vanuatu (21.0), Philippines (21.0), Malawi (21.0), Mali (21.9), Chad (21.9), Sri Lanka (22.8), Uganda (23.7), Dominica (23.7), St Lucia (23.7), Egypt (24.7), Niue (24.7), Ghana (24.7), Moldova (25.8), Grenada (25.8), El Salvador (27.0), Guinea-Bissau (27.0), Tanzania (27.0), Djibouti (27.0).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within 28-48 years relative to 2013.

Pakistan (28.3 years), Samoa (26.3), Tonga (28.3), Morocco (29.8), Senegal (29.8), Albania (29.8), Georgia (29.8), Armenia (31.3), St Vincent & Grenadines (32.1), Kenya (33.1), Maldives (34.9), Kyrgyzstan (34.9), Burkina Faso (34.9), India (37.1), Cook Islands (37.1), Bhutan (39.4), Yemen (42.1), Tajikistan (42.1), Mozambique (42.1), Rwanda (42.1), Burundi (42.1), Lesotho (45.1), Swaziland (45.1).

Countries that must cease GHG pollution within about 48-120 years relative to 2013.

Eritrea (48.5), Haiti (48.5), Solomon Islands (62.5), Vietnam (62.5), Cape Verde (62.5), Niger (62.5), Ethiopia (62.5), São Tomé and Príncipe (69.1), Afghanistan (77.1), The Gambia (77.1), Bangladesh (77.1), Comoros (100.0), Kiribati (117.2).

(B). The permissible per capita GHG pollution left or “per capita Carbon Credit” (aka “per capita Climate Credit”) can be determined by multiplying “years left to zero emissions relative to 2013” by the “annual per capita GHG pollution in 2000 with land use included” (see (see “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”, Wikipedia).

Countries with negative per capita Carbon Credit (i.e. Carbon Debt) or zero Carbon Credit relative to 2013 (tonnes CO2-e per person).

Belize (- 206.6 tonnes CO2-e per person), Qatar (-93.0), Guyana (-84.0), Malaysia (-40.9), United Arab Emirates (-36.8), Kuwait (-18.2), Papua New Guinea (-14.6), Brunei (-5.2), Australia (-5.2; -49.2 if including its huge GHG Exports), Antigua & Barbuda (-5.1), Zambia (-2.5), Canada (0.0), Bahrain (0.0),

Countries with positive per capita Carbon Credit relative to 2013 (tonnes CO2-e per person).

United States (2.3 tonnes CO2-e per person), Trinidad & Tobago (6.6), Luxembourg (8.5), Panama (13.8), New Zealand (13.5), Estonia (18.2), Botswana (19.6), Ireland (21.8), Saudi Arabia (23.1), Venezuela (25.3), Indonesia (26.8), Equatorial Guinea (29.0), Belgium (28.6), Turkmenistan (29.8), Singapore (29.6), Czech Republic (30.6), Liberia (30.6), Netherlands (31.1), Russia (31.1), Nicaragua (32.2), Finland (32.8), Oman (33.5), Palau (33.3), Brazil (33.3), Denmark (35.0). Germany (35.7), Mongolia (36.6), Israel (36.6), Nauru (37.4), Norway (37.6), South Korea (38.9), Kazakhstan (39.6), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (39.6), Libya (40.0), Greece (40.0), Japan (39.6), Myanmar (39.6), Taiwan (40.3), Cyprus (41.2), Slovenia (41.8), Cambodia (41.8), Austria (42.0), Iceland (42.0), Peru (4.3), Paraguay (42.6), Ukraine (43.1), Poland (43.2), South Africa (43.7), Argentina (44.6), Slovakia (44.6), Spain (44.2), Italy (44.2), Central African Republic (45.0), France (46.1), Suriname (46.4), Belarus (46.4), Gabon (47.0), Ecuador (47.6), Bolivia (47.8), Uruguay (49.4), Cameroon (49.4), Iran (49.4), Côte d’Ivoire (49.5), Sweden (49.5), Seychelles (49.6), Guatemala (49.6), Bulgaria (49.6), Serbia & Montenegro (49.6), Hungary (49.6), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (49.6), Uzbekistan (50.4), Portugal (50.4), Switzerland (51.1),

Azerbaijan (51.7), Angola (52.3), Bahamas (52.1), Benin (52.7), Zimbabwe (52.7), Laos (53.1), Mexico (53.1), Nepal (52.9), Colombia (52.9), Namibia (52.9), Chile (52.9), Malta (53.7), Congo, Republic (54.0), Madagascar (54.0), Croatia (54.3), Jamaica (54.3), Macedonia (54.5), Barbados (54.5), Latvia (54.7), Mauritania (55.4), Turkey (55.4), Romania (55.6), Lithuania (56.2), Costa Rica (56.2), Lebanon (56.2), North Korea (56.7), Thailand (56.6), Jordan (57.3), Honduras (57.8), Sudan (58.4), Bosnia & Herzegovina (58.5), Algeria (59.6), Iraq (59.6), Sierra Leone (59.6), Syria (60.0), China (60.5), Tunisia (61.1), Dominican Republic (61.6), St Kitts & Nevis (62.0), Nigeria (62.0), Fiji (62.0), Guinea (62.4), Mauritius (62.4), Cuba (62.9), Togo (62.9), Vanuatu (63.0), Philippines (63.0), Malawi (60.9), Mali (63.5), Chad (63.5), Sri Lanka (63.8), Uganda (64.0), Dominica (64.0), St Lucia (64.0), Egypt (64.2), Niue (64.2), Ghana (64.2), Moldova (64.5), Grenada (64.5), El Salvador (64.8), Guinea-Bissau (64.0), Tanzania (64.8), Djibouti (64.8), Pakistan (65.1), Samoa (60.5), Tonga (65.1), Morocco (65.0), Senegal (65.6), Albania (65.6), Georgia (65.6), Armenia (65.7), St Vincent & Grenadines (64.2), Kenya (66.2), Maldives (66.3), Kyrgyzstan (66.3), Burkina Faso (66.3), India (66.8), Cook Islands (66.8), Bhutan (67.0), Yemen (67.4), Tajikistan (67.4), Mozambique (67.4), Rwanda (67.4), Burundi (67.4), Lesotho (67.7), Swaziland (67.7), Eritrea (67.9), Haiti (67.9), Solomon Islands (68.8), Vietnam (68.8), Cape Verde (68.8), Niger (68.8), Ethiopia (68.8), São Tomé and Príncipe (69.1), Afghanistan (69.4), The Gambia (69.4), Bangladesh (69.4), Comoros (70.0), Kiribati (70.3).

(C ). The per capita Carbon Debt or Carbon Credit in US dollars can be estimated for each country by multiplying  the data in (B) by 100  because the cost of removing atmospheric CO2 by conversion into biochar or charcoal is about US$100 per tonne CO2 (see  Simon Shackley, Jim Hammond, John Gaunt and Rodrigo Ibarrollo, “The feasibility and costs of biochar deployment in the UK ”, Carbon Management, 2(3), 335-356 (2011)) and the minimum price on CO2-e  for effective climate change action has been estimated at about US$100 per tonne CO2-equivalent (see Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 9.2011:), noting that this calculation ignores the huge historical l Carbon Debt that in the period 1751-2006 was 75% due to European countries (Google  “Carbon debt, carbon credit”):

Countries with negative per capita Carbon Credit (i.e. Carbon Debt) or zero Carbon Credit relative to 2013 (US$ per person): Belize (- $20,660), Qatar (-$9,300), Guyana (-$8,400), Malaysia (-$4,090), United Arab Emirates (-$3,680), Kuwait (-$1,820), Papua New Guinea (-$1,460), Brunei (-$520), Australia (-$520; -$4,920 if including its huge GHG Exports), Antigua & Barbuda (-$510), Zambia (-$250), Canada ($0.0), Bahrain $0.0).

Countries with positive remaining per capita Carbon Credit relative to 2013 (US$ per person).

United States ($230), Trinidad & Tobago (660), Luxembourg (850), Panama (1380), New Zealand (1350), Estonia (1820), Botswana (1960), Ireland (2180), Saudi Arabia (2310), Venezuela (2530), Indonesia (2680), Equatorial Guinea (2900), Belgium (2860), Turkmenistan (2980), Singapore (2960), Czech Republic (3060), Liberia (3060), Netherlands (3110), Russia (3110), Nicaragua (3220), Finland (3280), Oman (3350), Palau (3330), Brazil (3330), Denmark (3500). Germany (3570), Mongolia (3660), Israel (3660), Nauru (3740), Norway (3760), South Korea (3890), Kazakhstan (3960), United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (3960), Libya (4000), Greece (4000), Japan (3960), Myanmar (3960), Taiwan (4030), Cyprus (4120), Slovenia (4180), Cambodia (4180), Austria (4200), Iceland (4200), Peru (4300), Paraguay (4260), Ukraine (4310), Poland (4320), South Africa (4370), Argentina (4460), Slovakia (4460), Spain (4420), Italy (4420), Central African Republic (4500), France (4610), Suriname (4640), Belarus (4640), Gabon (4700), Ecuador (4760), Bolivia (4780), Uruguay (4940), Cameroon (4940), Iran (4940), Côte d’Ivoire (4950), Sweden (4950), Seychelles (4960), Guatemala (4960), Bulgaria (4960), Serbia & Montenegro (4960), Hungary (4960), Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) (4960), Uzbekistan (5040), Portugal (5040), Switzerland (5110),

Azerbaijan (5170), Angola (5230), Bahamas (5210), Benin (5270), Zimbabwe (5270), Laos (5310), Mexico (5310), Nepal (5290), Colombia (5290), Namibia (5290), Chile (5290), Malta (5370), Congo, Republic (5400), Madagascar (5400), Croatia (5430), Jamaica (5430), Macedonia (5450), Barbados (5450), Latvia (5470), Mauritania (5540), Turkey (5540), Romania (5560), Lithuania (5620), Costa Rica (5620), Lebanon (5620), North Korea (5670), Thailand (5660), Jordan (5730), Honduras (5780), Sudan (5840), Bosnia & Herzegovina (5850), Algeria (5960), Iraq (5960), Sierra Leone (5960), Syria (600), China (6050), Tunisia (6110), Dominican Republic (6160), St Kitts & Nevis (6200), Nigeria (6200), Fiji (6200), Guinea (6240), Mauritius (6240), Cuba (6290), Togo (6290), Vanuatu (6300), Philippines (6300), Malawi (6090), Mali (6350), Chad (6350), Sri Lanka (6380), Uganda (6400), Dominica (6400), St Lucia (6400), Egypt (6420), Niue (6420), Ghana (6420), Moldova (6450), Grenada (6450), El Salvador (6480), Guinea-Bissau (6400), Tanzania (6480), Djibouti (6480),Pakistan (6510), Samoa (6050), Tonga (6510), Morocco (6500), Senegal (6560), Albania (6560), Georgia (6560), Armenia (6570), St Vincent & Grenadines (6420), Kenya (6620), Maldives (6630), Kyrgyzstan (6630), Burkina Faso (6630), India (6680), Cook Islands (6680), Bhutan (6700), Yemen (6740), Tajikistan (6740), Mozambique (6740), Rwanda (6740), Burundi (6740), Lesotho (6770), Swaziland (6770), Eritrea (6790), Haiti (6790), Solomon Islands (6880), Vietnam (6880), Cape Verde (6880), Niger (6880), Ethiopia (6880), São Tomé and Príncipe (6910), Afghanistan (6940), The Gambia (6940), Bangladesh (6940), Comoros (7000), Kiribati (7030).

(D). The Carbon Debt or Carbon Credit in tonnes CO2-e or US$ for each country can be determined by multiplying the respective per capita parameters (B and C, respectively) by the population for each country (see “List of countries by population”, Wikipedia).

Thus, for example, the Carbon Debt is $6.5 billion (Belize), $17.3 billion (Qatar), $12.1 billion (Australia) and $0 for Canada and Bahrain. These countries  have used up their “fair share” of the world’s  terminal GHG pollution budget and are now stealing from the rest of the world. These calculations do not consider GHG pollution from fossil fuel exports but if one considers Australia’s annual GHG exports implicit in coal, gas and iron exports of 1,130 million tonnes CO2-e in 2010 (see section G, “2011 climate change course”) and thence about 3 x 1,130 = 3,390 million tonnes in the last 3 years, then Australia’s Carbon Debt is $339.0 billion plus $12.1 billion = $351.1 billion, a Carbon Debt that is increasing at over $100 billion every year.

Similarly, Canada has used up its Carbon Credit and its huge Domestic GHG pollution alone from 2013 onwards (i.e. ignoring  Exported GHG pollution from Alberta tar sands oil via the proposed Keystone XL pipeline or the adumbrated trans-Canada pipeline) will add to an ever-increasing Carbon Debt at the rate of US$85.4 billion per year.   

The Carbon Credit is a mere $72.9 billion for the US as compared to $8,247.4 billion for India, $1,200.5 billion for Pakistan, $1,058.5 billion for Bangladesh and $8,229.6 billion for China. However with only 0.1 years left relative to 2013 for US zero emissions, the US will default on Carbon Debt in a matter of weeks just as it is again on the brink of defaulting on US government debt in a few weeks’ time.  The US Domestic Carbon Debt is currently increasing at the rate of US$725.4 billion per year.

These assessments of the Carbon Debt default and burgeoning Carbon Debt of Australia, Canada and the US are very conservative, ignore the recent re-assessment of global GHG pollution due to methanogenic livestock (see Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang. “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?” World Watch, November/December 2009),  and ignore the huge historical  Carbon Debt built up by these countries through GHG pollution since 1750 (see Gideon Polya, ““Global Climate Injustice: Massive European Carbon Debt Versus South Asian Carbon Credit” , Countercurrents, 29 September 2013).  

The world through the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council (UNSC) must demand urgent climate change action by major polluters such as the US, Australia and Canada in particular that are moving into huge Carbon Debt at the expense of Carbon Creditor countries that have not yet exceeded their “fair share” of the world’s terminal GHG pollution budget. Let us not forget that “All men are created equal”. Forcible insistence by the US Alliance of its “right” to exceed the safe limits and to disproportionately pollute the one common atmosphere of all countries amounts not just to climate change inaction but to intergenerational inequity, intergenerational injustice, climate racism, climate criminality, climate injustice and indeed climate terrorism against  which the only sensible course is  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all climate criminal people, politicians, parties, corporations and countries. The world is rapidly running out of time to act on man-made climate change.


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