Being Conned, Statistically Speaking

Edmonton - Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - by: Ron Thornton


It is interesting how statistics can be used in so many different ways. For instance, the United Nations claims Australia and Canada are behind only the United States as the highest sources of carbon emissions per capita in the world. Funny they don't mention that, per square mile, both of those Commonwealth nations barely register on the charts. Why would anyone use "per capita" as a measuring stick when the way to examine pollution is by how much smoke the factory is belching into the atmosphere, not by how many folks happen to work there?




For example, the Americans provide the biggest source of total greenhouse emissions, managing to spew out 455 tons of the stuff per square mile. This is huge compared to Australia's meagre output of 33 tons and Canada at under 44. Still, the Americans are saints compared to the emission output of other nations, based on the size of their territory. The Netherlands contribution is 5000 tons of carbon emissions per square mile of Dutch territory. In fact, many nations are sending up a much thicker haze, well over 1500 tons per square mile, including Belgium, Italy, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. If these gases create global warming, then these nations truly have a scorched earth policy.


According to Environment Canada's statistics, Alberta produces less than 30% of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. If so, then Alberta's contribution per square mile is as insignificant as that of China and India, neither of which are subject to the Koyoto Accord reductions.


Maybe this is something our legacy-seeking Prime Minister should consider before he sells out the farm.


Ron Thornton

  Greenpeace: Rio + 10 (Information from United Nations and Environment Canada) <>
  Comparing the "biggest emitters" according to emissions per square mile <>



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