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Simon Evans

16.12.2015 | 1:37pm
Global emissionsInteractive map: Historical emissions around the world
GLOBAL EMISSIONS | December 16. 2015. 13:37
Interactive map: Historical emissions around the world

Which country is most responsible for climate change? It’s a big question, with weighty consequences for decisions on who should take the lead in tackling the rise in emissions.

Finding a way to recognise different responsibilities between developed and developing countries was one of the keys to unlocking the historic Paris Agreement, sealed late last Saturday.

To shed a bit more light on historical responsibility for emissions, Aurélien Saussay, an economist at the French Economic Observatory, has put together the interactive map above.

It combines year-by-year CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement with gridded population data (laid out on a map). You can read Saussay’s  methodology by following the tab in the interactive.

Here’s a timelapse video by Saussay showing where emissions have come from historically, and how cumulative emissions have built up over time.

The emissions data comes from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). It excludes other greenhouse gases and emissions associated with land-use change and forestry.

It’s also worth noting that the data coverage varies by country. It goes back all the way to 1751 for the UK, with Germany from 1792, the US from 1800, India from 1858 and China only from 1899.

The gridded population data is from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).

Main image: Interactive: Global Historical Emissions Map preview. Credit: Saussay (2015)/CartoDB.
Sharelines from this story
  • Interactive map: Historical emissions around the world
  • Emissions through time: Interactive map
  • UK Emissions back to 1751 and more: Interactive map

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