Chinese Family Carbon Footprint from NPR

May 5th, 2008

There is a lot of talk, of course, about the facts that (i) the U.S. has the highest per-capita (and overall) rate of CO2 emission in the world, and (2) that China is catching up quickly.  This podcast from NPR puts some facts to the story.

NPR previously profiled a family in North Carolina that worked hard to reduce its CO2 output and succeeded in getting itself well below the North Carolina average.  For contrast, NPR then profiled an “upper middle class” family in Beijing with a 3 bedroom apartment, a car and a house in the country that makes no real effort to conserve.

The result?  Excluding air travel, the North Carolina family trying hard to conserve and the Beijing family that doesn’t are basically even on CO2 emissions.  The American family travels more and farther by plane, so factoring that in put the Chinese family in the lead (in the best sense) by a wide margin.

This kind of data, even though anecdotal, is really fascinating.

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