- BBC News World
The United States first, followed at some distance by China, then Russia, Brazil and Indonesia.
These five countries are, according to a new survey on the historical accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the major polluters of the world.
The study, carried out by the Carbon Brief think tank on the eve of the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), which begins November 1 in Glasgow, Scotland, focuses on the period between 1850 and 2021.
And, for the first time, it takes into account the deforestation when accounting for the release of CO2. That is why Brazil and Indonesia are in a prominent place.
Other variants taken into consideration are the emissions that are due to the burning of fossil fuels, transformations in land use and cement production.
The change in methodology thus altered the list of the 20 largest historical polluters.
In the previous Carbon Brief survey (2019), which only looked at emissions from burning fuel, the historically most polluting country was the US, followed by China, Russia, Germany and the UK.
In total, humans have emitted around 2.5 trillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere since 1850.
AND The US has contributed 20% del total, China 11%, Russia 7%, Brazil 5% e Indonesia 4%.
The case of Brazil
In Brazil and Indonesia, most emissions are due to the logging and the use of the land for livestock and agriculture, not to the burning of fossil fuels, as is the case in other major polluting countries.
Therefore, according to environmentalists, studies that do not consider emissions related to deforestation ignore the peculiarities of Brazilian pollution.
According to Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, an organization that annually calculates emissions in Brazil, in the last three decades around the 80% they were due to deforestation and the use of the land for cattle raising.
“If you take the last 30 years, 73% of the planet’s emissions are in the energy area. If you take the last 30 years in Brazil, 55% of the emissions are due to deforestation. Brazilian livestock, we are close to 80%, “Astrini tells BBC News Brazil.
The discussion on responsibilities to control climate change will be central at the COP26 meeting, which ends on November 12.
At the meeting, leaders from more than 100 countries will negotiate and try to reach new commitments to ensure that the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming at 1.5 ° C is met.
Poor and developing countries are expected to demand more compensation from rich nations, highlighting that they have not fulfilled their commitment to contribute US $ 100 billion a year in actions to mitigate climate change.
In turn, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union will try to obtain from the large emerging countries, such as Brazil, Russia, China and India, more ambitious commitments to control deforestation and reduce emissions.
In this pulse between rich countries and developing countries, the responsibility of each country in the face of global warming will be measured, among other ways, by its current and historical volume of emissions.
And it is expected that Brazil is one of the most pressured countries, due to the large increase in deforestation and burning in the Amazon in the first three years of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.