Five Chinas & The Cartoon Guide to Climate Change

June 15th, 2014 by David

In the past six weeks, Lindsey and I have biked across Turkey, talking to people about climate change. While a summary of our impressions can be found in this blog post, what struck us the most is how much new infrastructure — and especially power plants — Turkey is building. In fact, in the next decade, the country plans to almost double its electrical generating capacity.

I’ve been looking for good ways to explain why this is a problem. Turkey’s per capita emissions are about one quarter of the U.S.’s, comparable with China’s per capita emissions. Turkey makes up only one percent of the global population, and emits only about one percent of human-produced greenhouse gases — why should it matter if they dramatically increase their emissions?

A great explanation can be found below, courtesy of The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change, a new book by Grady Klein and “Stand Up Economist” Yoram Bauman. It sums up why “business as usual” is a major problem. If Turkey, and all of the other countries with similar per capita emissions, “catch up” with the developed world using energy from fossil fuels, emissions – and global warming – will spiral out of control.

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