Climate injustice

Here’s what the world looks like if country sizes were proportional to their emissions (world map scaled to fossil-fuel carbon-dioxide emissions in 2002):


And here’s what the world looks like if countries were sized commensurately with the burden of climate change impacts (world map scaled by the World Health Organization’s regional estimates of per capita mortality from late 20th century climate change):


These maps were drawn from the recently released UN Population Fund (UNFPA) ‘State of World Population 2009’ report, which focuses on the theme of women, population and climate change. While the developed countries have contributed the most to human-induced climate change up to now, people in poor countries—most dramatically in Africa—already are much more likely to die as a result of the climate change that occurred up to 2000.

The picture is significantly more skewed if we were to take account of (i) historical emissions; (ii) the unequal burden of future climate impacts.

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Leo Horn

About Leo Horn

Leo currently serves as Director for International Cooperation at the World Resources Institute (WRI). Prior to that he had worked in UNDP, the World Bank and DfID. He worked for six years in China where, from 2006-2009 he led a pioneering cross-governmental partnership between the UK and China on sustainable development, initiated by Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Wen Jiabao, and involving 17 government ministries/agencies. In parallel, he co-founded the China Carbon Forum and led it to become a thriving professional association serving as the key interface between the business community and senior Chinese government decision-makers on climate policy reform issues. Leo writes here in a personal capacity and his views do not necessarily reflect those of WRI.