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01/15/2014

U.S. is world's top global warming offender, Canada at no. 10

Carbon

Corn plants weakened by a long-lasting drought lie on the ground after being knocked over by rain in Bennington, Neb. (AP file photo) 

Meet global warming’s top five offenders: 

1. The United States of America.

2. China.

3. Russia.

4. Brazil.

5. India.

A new study from ConcordiaUniversity in Montreal calls the U.S. the “unambiguous leader, responsible for a global temperature increase of 0.15 degree Celsius.” That, says the study, is close to 20 per cent of the observed warming on earth.

(The study was published in Environmental Research Letters and assigns a temperature change value to each country that shows its contribution to observed global warming.)  

Not that China and Russia are any better. The two account for about eight per cent each while Brazil and India add up to seven per cent each.

These are the biggest five offenders. Germany and England are at number 6 and 7 and account for about five per cent each of observed warming; yes, Canada figures in the list, it stands at no. 10, just after France and Indonesia.

The study explains that though it may seem surprising that less industrialized countries like Brazil and Indonesia are ranked so highly, it is because “their positions reflect carbon dioxide emissions related to deforestation.”

Interestingly, the study also divided each country’s climate contribution by its population and found very different results: amongst the 20 largest total emitters, developed countries occupied the top seven per-capita positions, with Canada falling in third place behind England and the United States.

China and India dropped to the bottom of the list in this ranking.

Raveena Aulakh is the Toronto Star’s environment reporter. Follow her on Twitter @raveenaaulakh

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