Pollution: a French person directly emits less greenhouse gas than the world average

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According to the data available for 2023, the average CO2 emissions of a resident in France over the year are lower than those of the world average. They actually reach 4.60 tonnes per year, compared to 4.66 for global emissions, according to the Global Carbon Budget organization.

However, this is only about “territorial emissions”: CO2 emitted on French soil. This figure has been declining since the 1970s, which is not specific to France. Most advanced countries are in the same situation. Even the United States has seen its annual per capita emissions drop by a third since 1978.

France is, however, with Switzerland and the United Kingdom, one of the developed countries for which emissions per capita are currently the lowest. In these three countries, the main reasons for this decline over the last forty years are the progressive deployment of carbon-free energies to produce electricity (renewable and nuclear energy) and deindustrialization.

For the United Kingdom, the country of the first industrial revolution, territorial CO2 emissions per capita are even lower than they were 175 years ago (in 1850), despite a considerable increase in the average standard of living since then. The reason ? The greater energy efficiency enabled by technical progress and the almost total abandonment of coal, one of the energies with the highest impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

On the other hand, by also taking into account the climate impact of the production of imported goods, we add two tonnes to the emissions per French, British or Swiss. And when we add the other greenhouse gases to CO2 (1), we add two additional tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Which makes a total of just under 9 tonnes per French person all inclusive.

(1) Emissions of other gases responsible for the greenhouse effect such as methane can be converted into CO2 equivalent depending on their impact on the climate.

This article is originally published on liberation.fr

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