How Large is America’s Climate Debt?

Phys Org: “All countries have contributed to recent climate change, but some much more so than others. Those that have contributed more than their fair share have accumulated a climate debt, owed to countries that have contributed less to historical warming.”

“This is the implication of a new study published in Nature Climate Change, in which Concordia University researcher Damon Matthews shows how national carbon and climate debts could be used to decide who should pay for the global costs of climate mitigation and damages. The countries that have accumulated the largest carbon debts on account of higher than average per-capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are the United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.”

“The U.S. alone carries 40 per cent of the cumulative world debt, while Canada carries about four per cent.”

Inside Climate News: “The study concludes  the carbon debt of high-emitting countries totals 250 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide since 1990. The U.S. government calculates the social cost of CO2 emissions –including property damage from increased flooding, reduced agricultural productivity and adverse effects on human health– is about $40 per metric ton of CO2. Multiplying the two figures  produces the $10 trillion figure.”


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