Racking Up Climate Debt

The United States is an awfully wealthy nation, as is the United Kingdom. It shows in our lifestyles and it shows in our carbon dioxide emissions — we are essentially energy rich, not necessarily in production but in terms of consumption.

The BBC recently ran an article (opening paragraphs below) highlighting some research from a development organization, and the numbers tell a stunning yet very real story.

Airport CO2 rivals African nation

Bristol International Airport produces the same amount of CO2 from flying each year as the African nation of Malawi, an anti-poverty group said.


The World Development Movement claimed the overall UK-wide growth in aviation was undermining efforts to control climate change.

Over the years, the Center for American Progress has done a handful of work in this area, focusing on the paradox — the countries that have polluted the most will bear less of the burden from climate change. Meanwhile, countries struggling to develop are staged to suffer the most, and are extremely vulnerable to high world oil prices and subject to global energy poverty. Price spikes that some can easily absorb have the ability to wipe out years of debt relief and assistance to Heavily Indebted Poor Countries.

In CAP’s words, we’ve incurred a climate debt that we’re due to balance. Read more here.