Australia, South Korea beyond India & China in per capita coal emissions

The data shows that countries such as Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and the United States are among the worst coal power emitters when the emission figures are adjusted for population size.
The coal-powered Datang International Zhangjiakou Power Station at Zhangjiakou, in China's northern Hebei province. The country is the world's largest coal power consumer and also the fifth in the per capital coal emissions ranking. (File Photo / AFP)
The coal-powered Datang International Zhangjiakou Power Station at Zhangjiakou, in China's northern Hebei province. The country is the world's largest coal power consumer and also the fifth in the per capital coal emissions ranking. (File Photo / AFP)
Published on Nov 13, 2021 10:15 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India is the world's second-largest consumer of coal-based power, however, its per capita emission is far less than the global average, a fraction of what some of the world's richest countries – such as the United States and Australia – emit, revealed a new analysis by Ember, an independent climate and energy think tank focused on accelerating the global electricity transition. According to research conducted by the organisation, the average person in India emits only half of what the average Canadian would do through coal power and eight times less than the average Australian.

The data shows that countries such as Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and the United States are among the worst coal power emitters when the emission figures are adjusted for population size. While Australia has the highest per capita coal emissions in the world (the average Australian emits five times as much carbon dioxide from coal power than the average person globally), South Korea and the United States emit almost four times and three times the global average, respectively.

Some pertinent highlights from the Ember analysis:

1 . Australia has the highest per capita coal emissions in the entire world; the country emits 5.34 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. The average Australian emits five times as much carbon dioxide from coal as the average person globally, and almost twice as much as the average person in China.

2 . South Korea has the second-highest per-capita coal emissions, among all the G20 countries, at 3.81 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The average Korean emits almost four times as much carbon dioxide from coal as the global average.

3. The United States has the fourth-highest per capita coal emissions in the G20 at 3.08 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The average American emits almost thrice as much carbon dioxide from coal as the global average.

4. China was found to be the world's largest coal power consumer and also the fifth in the per capital coal emissions ranking. The country emits 2.71 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year; an average citizen emits 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide from coal as the global average.

Notably, according to the International Energy Agency's Net Zero Roadmap, countries within the OECD such as Australia, South Korea, the United States, Germany, and Japan have pledged to end coal power by 2030 to align with a 1.5-degree pathway. However, the recent report sends alarming signals about the global coal emission situation, as these are the very countries found to be among the worst performers on coal power when the data is adjusted for population size.

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Friday, January 28, 2022