Posted on Aug 14, 2021
The publication of a major report into climate change - warning of catastrophic consequences if the world does not act to limit global warming - has led to a renewed debate about what individual countries are doing, The BBC reports.
British Conservative MP John Redwood said the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November would not produce the desired results, unless other nations including China and the US did more to cut their carbon emissions.
Speaking on on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said "It's only going to work if Germany, which puts out twice as much as we do, starts to take the issue seriously and closes down its coal power stations."
The Global Carbon Atlas (GCA) publishes emissions data from around the world. It says in 2018, the UK emitted 380 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO₂) from the burning of fossil fuels.
In the same year, Germany emitted 755 MtCO₂, about twice as much as the UK, and about 2% of the global total of 36,441 MtCO₂.
So the figures for 2018 support Mr Redwood's claim, but some context is needed when making this direct comparison.
For a start, Germany is bigger than the UK. It's home to 83 million people, 17 million more than the UK.
It makes more things than the UK. Germany is a net exporter, whereas the UK is a net importer.
Manufacturing accounts for twice as much of the economy in Germany as it does in the UK, according to the World Bank (23% of German national GDP, compared with just 11% in the UK).
"Germany has a larger population than the UK, so it's not too surprising total energy consumption and emissions are higher, because they have more residential and commercial buildings, and more cars on the road," says Dr Mike O'Sullivan, a mathematician and climate researcher at the University of Exeter, who collects data for the GCA.
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