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Carbon dioxide is certainly important for the Earth's biosphere, but not in such quantities that are emitted into the atmosphere today. For the first time, the human influence on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was noted in the middle of the 19th century and since then has steadily and rapidly increased. Now the concentration of carbon dioxide has reached its maximum level in the last 800 thousand years, and perhaps for the entire 20 million years. Who's guilty?
Here are the top 10 countries leading in carbon dioxide emissions.
557 million tonnes of CO2in year. A typical image of Canada - virgin forests, crystal clear lakes, mountains and rivers, nature and space. Despite this, Canada is one of the ten countries that emit the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To change this situation, in October 2016, the Canadian government decided to introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
592 million tonnes of CO2 in year. Refugees from North Korea say that living in the country of its southern neighbors is like a breath of fresh air. Such a metaphor may sound like a wicked irony: the air in South Korea is one of the most polluted in Asia, sometimes literally suffocating.
Spring in Seoul is like being in the same room with a person who smokes 4 packs of cigarettes a day. South Korea has 50 coal plants (and new ones are planned), and Seoul has over 10 million people and almost everyone uses cars. Unlike Canada, South Korea is not taking any measures that could improve the environmental situation.
601 million tonnes of CO2 in year. According to the WHO, the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, is one of the most polluted cities in the world, and even in Beijing, such a "periodic table" that poisons your breath in Riyadh does not get into your lungs.
In this case, the problem of industrial waste is aggravated by difficult natural conditions, in particular, frequent and sometimes terrifying sandstorms. Environmental issues in Saudi Arabia are considered secondary, and, like South Korea, the state does not intend to reduce the volume of oil and gas production and the processing industry.
648 million tonnes CO2 in year. The city of Ahvaz in Iran, which once served as the winter residence of the Persian kings, is today a major metallurgical center and one of the most polluted cities in the world. For example, in Moscow, the average annual concentration of PM10 (fine particles, which are an important component of air pollution) is 33 μg / m3, and in Akhvaz sometimes reaches 372 μg / m3… But problems with carbon dioxide emissions, alas, are typical for the entire territory of Iran.
In November 2016, all schools in the capital were closed due to the lethal fumes that choked the city. "Lethal" is not a figure of speech here: more than 400 people died from polluted air in 23 days. In addition to petrochemical industries, which significantly degrade the environment, an important reason for this situation in Iran is sanctions. For the past 38 years since the end of the Islamic Revolution, Iranians have been driving old cars with low-quality fuel.
798 million tonnes of CO2 in year. The presence of Germany on this list is as surprising as the presence of Canada. But don't be fooled: in addition to green fields, good economy and eco-orientation, there are many large cities in Germany.
So, Stuttgart is called "German Beijing" - there is no smog here, but the concentration of hazardous particles is quite high. So in 2014, the concentration of particles exceeded the permissible norm for 64 days, which made the air more polluted than in Seoul and Los Angeles combined.In 28 regions of the country, the level of air pollution is considered dangerous. For example, in 2013, more than 10 thousand people in Germany died from an increased content of nitrogen oxides in the air.
1,237 million tonnes of CO2 in year. Japan ranks 5th in the world in terms of pollution, emitting almost twice as much carbon dioxide into the air as South Korea. But all this is a giant step forward compared to what was happening on the island state literally 50 years ago.
Dreadful syndromes caused by pollution, such as Minamata disease (heavy metal poisoning), have killed many Japanese people. It wasn't until the 1970s that the Japanese authorities began to take steps to live in a cleaner environment. The environmental situation in Japan deteriorated slightly after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011: the disaster led to the fact that almost all Japanese nuclear power plants were closed and replaced with coal.
1,617 million tonnes of CO2 in year. Yes, Moscow sometimes exhibits particularly dangerous levels of air pollution, but still Russia's fourth position in the list of countries with the highest CO2 content in the air is provided by the Chelyabinsk Region and the industrial cities of Siberia. Novokuznetsk, Angarsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Bratsk and Novosibirsk emit more emissions into the atmosphere than the multimillion-dollar Moscow.
About 6% of all carbon monoxide emissions in Russia are due to the Chelyabinsk region. The city of Karabash in the Chelyabinsk region in 1996 was recognized as an ecological disaster zone, and in the media it is often called the most polluted city in the world.
2,274 million tonnes CO2 in year. According to some estimates, about 1.2 million people die from air pollution in India every year. Yes, India has declared its pursuit of cleaner energy, but how realistic this is is a big question. The country's economy is growing, while hundreds of millions of Indians still lack electricity and live in poverty-stricken conditions.
One of the major economic achievements of India in recent years is to reduce the country's dependence on coal imports: due to the growth of its own coal production, which India is steadily increasing every year. If we stop this coal mining, the air will become cleaner, but the country will be poorer.
5,414 million tonnes of CO2 in year. Despite numerous environmental protection programs and green energy developments, the United States remains among the leaders in environmental pollution.
More than half of the country's population breathes hazardous air, according to a 2016 report by the American Lung Disease Association. This can be reformulated as follows: 166 million Americans put themselves at risk of developing asthma, heart disease, and cancer every day because of the air they breathe. The most polluted cities are concentrated in sunny California.
10357 million tonnes of CO2 in year. Japan, Russia, India and the United States occupy neighboring lines in this ranking, but even if these countries are combined into one, then even in this case the amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the air will not be comparable to what is happening in China: if air pollution were Olympic sport, China has become the leader of the medal standings. “Red,” the highest, air pollution levels are not uncommon in many cities in China, as are reports of millions of residents staying home due to toxic smog. The air situation in China is not getting better - only in December 2016, the concentration of fine suspended particles PM10 (we talked about them above) exceeded 800 μg / m3… For comparison: from the WHO point of view, the average annual concentration of PM10 is 20 μg / m3.