President Trump met his “friend” Erdogan leaving most of the world to wander, why did they meet for? The only plausible explanation, from the U.S. point of view, was for Trump to celebrate the demise of his former Kurdish allies and attempt to loosen Turkey’s recent ties with Russia. However, the timing of the meeting appears more to be a ploy to take some shine off the first day’s impeachment proceedings than a stab at a new political breakthrough. His game is to generate news that are sensational enough to comfort his own base and persuade them of the impact of his great political talents. His withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, just as his bragging of breaking Venezuela or pacifying North Korea are no longer his trump cards to seek re-election.

Meanwhile the earth continues to warm up at an accelerating rate, which has made obvious the many changes in nature from disappearing glaciers, reduction in ice coverage of Arctic regions, Antarctic and Greenland, larger storms and sudden changes and temperature just to mention a few. But when it comes to weather the President has no imagination: climate change is a hoax.

The Εconomist had a whole issue which concentrated on climate. The articles are most interesting and are worth reading. However more than anything was a map of the world which we reproduce here. 

This map calibrates the increase temperatures in various portions of the globe from the average 1951-1980 period up to 2018. The results are striking. The eye is immediately struck by the intense red areas in the most northern parts of the globe. The legend indicates that they are the ones that have increased the most. In the most northern areas, the temperatures have increased by 2.5 degrees which is much more than the 1.5 degree increase limit agreed in Paris given that the starting date is much earlier.  What is missing on the map is the line of the equator. If one draws a mental line in the middle of the globe, one realises how small the southern inhabited land masses are compared to the northern ones.

The adjacent map has been cropped to show the main continental shelves on the southern hemisphere which enables one to identify the countries lying south of the equator. To those one should add the countries of Oceania and Indonesia. Thanks to the Economist again, one can consult the pocket diary which enables one to quickly compile the population lying south of the Equator. A quick addition reveals that the southern hemisphere regroups about 1.1 Billion people compared to a word total of 7.7 Billion which means that the north is 6 times more populated than the south and its contribution to global emissions an immensely larger amount.

The top 20 worst emitters in 2018 represented about 70 % of the total world CO2 emissions. Their location confirms the split of the hemispheres (over 93% for the Northern Hemisphere).  The worst 5 polluters represent over 60 % of the total. Not surprisingly China tops the list with 30% of the world total emissions followed by the USA 15%, India 7%, Russian Federation 5% and Japan 4%. The 28 EU nations account for 9%.  What is interesting is that the US emissions/capita are twice as large as those of China.  For the other 30%, the southern hemisphere only represents under 7% of the total pollution.

When it comes to Methane only about 22% in CO2 equivalent of those the same countries account for about 65% of the total emissions. The 4 top countries are the same as for CO2 but Japan a non-agricultural and non-oil producing country is replaced in 5th position country by Brazil with about 6% of the total emissions China remains the worse emitter with 22% followed by India 8% , the Russian Federation 7% and the Us 6%. Interestingly because of the more intense agricultural economy in southern hemisphere, the share of methane in the is about 20 % of the global CH4 emissions.

It would appear that over the last 50 years in particular the warming of the Northern has outpaced that of the Southern Hemisphere and this trend is accelerating. Unknown to the majority of people, in each hemisphere, the trade winds blow in opposite directions. According to some scientists, as the Northern Hemisphere warms up at a relatively faster rate, tropical rain bands that form near the equator, where trade winds collide to build towering thunderstorms, may shift northward, drying out parts of the Southern Hemisphere. Such phenomena can be observed in el Nino years when the warm waters near the equatorial pacific coast are displaced westwards and replaced by cold water. This engenders droughts in the Southern hemisphere and changes the rain patterns in the Northern hemisphere. It would appear, that the recurrence of el Nino is increasing in frequency.

Greece is a small country which could become a victim of climate change as the Mediterranean enclave becomes besieged by drought.  and surprisingly has reduced its CO2 emissions from 8.7 MT to 6.5 MT per capita while our German friends have been hovering over the past 10 years over the 9 MT mark. Thanks to the sun and the abundance of winds, Greece should become fossil fuel independent as it will be capable of exporting surplus clean energy abroad and rely on conventional energy sources only as a back up when renewables are not available.

By Digenis 16 November 2019


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