The independent London newspaper

Carbon footprints – Britain and the Industrial Revolution started the rot

23 May, 2019

• MALLORY Wober writes that the greatest emitter of greenhouse gas is a “Far East country shown as responsible for 26.6 per cent of total emissions”, (This country is not the worst polluter, May 16).

The UK’s emissions were too small, he says, to be on the list of the world’s worst emitters. The conclusion he draws from this is that rather than try to reduce our carbon footprints, we should instead persuade those others to reduce theirs.

But he doesn’t take into account that our current population is 66 million. That “Far East’ country”, China perhaps, has a population of 1.386 billion.

A British citizen’s average carbon footprint is around nine tonnes of CO2 a year. The Chinese average is climbing, but still only around seven tonnes.

Add to this is our country’s role in starting the rot, if we want to put it like that. The Industrial Revolution began here and our more comfortable lifestyles have resulted from it.

The Chinese are playing catch-up, as we would do in their place. So is Mallory Wober suggesting we in the UK should pull the ladder up behind us?

Let’s not forget that every time we buy a washing machine or dishwasher or mobile phone, that it was probably made in China, no matter which brand name is on the front.

All we have done is export a goodly chunk of our carbon footprints, in just the same way we used, until recently, to export our plastic waste.

Gaisford Street, NW5


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