Maldive’s Contribution to Climate Change

The graph above is called a Keeling Curve and it represents the the concentration in parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from 1950 to 2012. The data used to make this graph can be found by clicking the link below.

The graph above shows total fossil fuel emissions by country and how the data has increased for all but one country over time. The data used to make this graph can be found by clicking the link below.

When looking at the CO2 emissions graph we can see that all of the emissions from the Maldives comes from liquids. All other sources of possible emission are straight across at zero on the bottom of the graph. I find this odd that they do not at least emit gases.

The Maldives did not begin emitting CO2 until about 1975. (data for emissions only goes  back to 1971) However, emissions did not really take off until the early 90s, and from that point forward there has been a significant upward trend. At least in emissions of liquid CO2. I found in my research that tourism did not really blow up in the Maldives until about the mid 90s which was my best guess as to why significant emissions were not produced until then. On a side note, the Maldives are closing in on a $100 million tourist tax which would help reduce carbon emissions and potentially net them a large profit.

The per capita emission rate for the Maldives as of 2008 was 0.82 compared with 4.9 of the United States. We find that this is just 16% of what the United States emits. The Maldives have a much smaller population although they do get a lot of tourists, other forms of emissions other than liquid are not likely because it is a lesser developed country and does not have a substantial amount of automobiles and does not use a large amount of carbon gases.

The Maldives rank in at 111th in fossil fuel CO2 emissions rates of the countries of the world. The United States ranked 12th in the world which I was a bit surprised to see I thought it would have been higher because we do take a lot of heat for the amount we emit per person.

I feel that my countries rank is low compared to that of others, they only emit liquid forms of CO2, and they have not been emitting it for very long. I think that the $100 million tourist tax they are trying to put in place to lower CO2 emissions is nothing but a money maker for the country.

The Maldives emit so little fossil fuels that you cannot distinguish much of a number from the data on the graph. Their highest emission rate was in 2008 at 251 thousand metric tons of carbon but that is still too low of a number to be seen above the bottom of the X axis on the graph. That is surprising in its own way because they provide such a large tourist attraction yet do not hardly emit any fossil fuels.

The biggest emitter in 2008 of carbon dioxide was China with 1,917,621 thousand metric tons compared with the U.S. at 1,546,903.

While China emits more metric tons of carbon than the United States, they have over a billion more people than the U.S. Clearly the U.S. is more at fault with China considering we are not even that far off from emitting as much carbon as they do. If we had anywhere near the population of China then there would be some off the charts data as far as carbon emissions.

The sum of the emissions for the countries in the data set are in terms of thousand metric tons carbon and are as follows:

United States: 91,229,888

China: 31,793,558

India: 9,151,461

Italy: 5,364,817

Kenya: 80,124

Maldives: 2,741

As we can see from the data above, the United States is responsible for the most fossil fuel emissions from the year 1900 to 2008.

When we divide the sum of China’s emissions by the U.S. we get .34 meaning their emissions since 1900 are only 34% of what the U.S. emissions have been. When dividing India’s emissions since 1900 by the United States’ we find that India has only emitted 10% of what we have over that time period.

The time scale on the Keeling Curve is from just 1950 to 2012 where as the time scale for the global emissions of carbon runs from 1750 to 2010. The two graphs are not necessarily similar in shape because of the way that data points vary for carbon emissions although they both do have an upward trend from beginning to end. Carbon emissions are the amount of carbon in million metric tons that is being put into the atmosphere. The concentration is in ppm (parts per million) and it represents the parts of carbon per every million particles in the atmosphere.


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