Data from the World Bank shows that Americans, Chinese and Russians are among the world’s biggest climate change skeptics. Less than a third of them believe climate change is a serious problem, and more than 20% believe it is not too serious or not a problem at all. Interestingly, the three together accounted for almost half (46%) of total world emissions of CO2 in 2010 according to the U. S. Government’s own data (Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center – U.S. Dept. of Energy).
China continues to lead the world in CO2 emissions, but on a per capita basis, the U.S. is still the biggest offender among medium and large nations. On a per capita basis, the average American produced in 2010 50% more CO2 than the average Russian and almost 3 times more than the average Chinese. The gap is even larger with other emerging countries: Americans beat Brazilians by a factor of 8 and Indians by 10. Interestingly again, almost 2 in 3 Indians, and 3 in 4 Brazilians believe climate change is a very serious problem.
In what appears to be a dangerous case of cognitive dissonance, the nations that can make a dent in reducing our global carbon addiction don’t seem to have much interest in trying.