11 October 2013 – The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reports that global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, while a consensus does not exist on what to do about it. Another aspect of the issue is the discrepancy between per-capita emissions between developing and developed countries. In 2010, the USA had a per capita carbon dioxide emission rate of 17.31 tonnes per capita. Africa had a comparable figure of 0.91.
However, fast-developing China, since about 2007 the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, already has a per capita emissions rate (5.40 in 2010) closing in on that of the European Union (7.29 in 2010).
This raises the implications for Africa and its pending industrialisation. Like China, Africa also has more than one billion people, but with per-capita emissions less than 20% of China’s and plans for substantial economic development. What happens to greenhouse gas emissions in Africa will depend on the magnitude of the increase in these emissions from rising prosperity compared to the impact on emissions from slowing population growth, which typically accompanies increasing prosperity.