Columbia, SC – A report released today by the National Environmental Trust shows that many U.S. states individually emit more global warming pollution than hundreds of developing nations combined. The report, “Taking Responsibility: Why the United States Must Lead the World in Reducing Global Warming Pollution” compares annual state emissions data to that of developing and developed nations. The report graphically illustrates that individual United States’ contribution to the global warming problem and stresses the need for the U.S. to assume leadership at the annual UN climate negotiations in Bali, Indonesia where world leaders are gathered to discuss international efforts to combat global warming post-Kyoto Protocol.
According to the report, South Carolina emits more global warming pollution, with only 4 million people, than 75 developing countries with populations greater than 400 million. Researchers analyzed historical data because global warming pollution stays in the atmosphere for centuries. They found that the U.S. is the biggest single source of historical emissions form 1750 to 2005. At present, the U.S. is responsible for 27.8% of all global warming pollution, while all developing nations emissions combined is just 23%.
“South Carolina elected officials can no longer use developing counties’ emissions as an excuse for not acting on climate change,” said Ulla Reeves, regional program director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “This report is yet another indication of why South Carolina must lead the implementation of solutions to global warming through Governor Sanford’s South Carolina’s Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee.”
“Even small increments in future warming will make the difference between moderate climate change and catastrophic climate change. Whether we experience sea level rise in inches or in feet will have a dramatic impact on a state like South Carolina with almost 200 miles of coastline,” said Dr. William Bailey, program manager for the Center for Humans and Nature’s Lowcountry Initiative at the University of South Carolina. “It is important that U.S. scientists and policymakers remain engaged in the international climate process.”
Industry leaders increasingly recognize that averting global warming’s most serious effects can be good for business and local economies. “The positive economic impacts of addressing climate change on large and small businesses are great,” said Frank Knapp Jr., president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “Global warming is truly the equivalent of the 1960’s challenge to put a man on the moon. Addressing solutions results in new business opportunities that will spur our present lagging economy while protecting South Carolina’s natural resources, which are vitally important to our tourism and agricultural small businesses.”