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United States

TOTAL POPULATION

318.6 million YEAR 2014

CO2 EMISSIONS

5,254,300 kt COUNTRY, YEAR 2014

5,792,000 kt North America, YEAR 2014

The United-States have pulled out of the Paris agreement.

PARIS AGREEMENT TARGET

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

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Bozhana Zagorcheva donated € 5 to The Bedechka Case: Fighting the Neglect of Green Urban Areas . Leonardo Gaffuri donated € 5 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles . Gianmarco Gallo donated € 30 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles . anna minerva donated € 50 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles . marta tosi donated € 50 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles . Ildiko Milanovich donated € 50 to K'uxiub'al: Sustainable Energy for Healthy Families in San Andrés Itzapa . Ildiko Milanovich donated € 70 to Building an Efficient Technology for Women's Economic Empowerment . Ildiko Milanovich donated € 50 to CROWDFOREST: Making Reforestation Faster and Free through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles . 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PlanA Newsletter

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CLIMATE SIGNIFICANCE

The US is increasingly vulnerable to climate chaos consequences, yet seems to have a hard time to come to terms with this reality. Under the Trump administration, the US government has pulled out of the Paris Agreement (Syria and Nicaragua have now joined, which means that the US is the only country out of the agreement). 

The US is the world’s second largest emitter although Americans only represent 4.4% of the world population. It is the country that has contributed the most to climate change in terms of GHG emissions. Human influence has already taken a toll on the environment. The passenger pigeon was one of the first known species to disappear with our knowledge that we had a part in this.

California has progressively dried out and is facing longer and harsher fire seasons. In the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes have become more intense, more frequent and have started occurring farther up north and inland. These events cannot be considered anomalies anymore, because they are the new norm in these regions.

The US is the third largest country in the world. Its territories range from Caribbean islands to the frozen lands of Alaska all the way in the Arctic circle. The American great outdoors attracts millions of nature lovers (and resource exploiters) for their pristine, seemingly endless wilderness. 25,800 protected areas covering 1.2 million km² currently protect 14% of the US territory. These protected lands preserve habitats and endangered species, but also geological formations, archaeological treasures and historical sites. 

They are at the heart of a battle for influence between conservationists and contenders of resource exploitation. These groups are battling over infrastructure projects (such as that of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline), national monument planning (such as the Bears Ears rollback project), and many more issues that reveal a growing conflict between two very different approaches to wealth and economic growth.

Even the strongest lumberjack needs a helping hand when they get dust in their eyes. The world’s first economy, first military and first internal market have the potential to tip the scales in favour of environmentalism. Despite negative signals and a confirmed penchant for fossil fuel industries from the central administration, other institutions in the country are defending the cause and their livelihoods.

THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET THERE IS NO PLAN B FOR OUR PLANET

DATA INSIGHTS

The US is classified as a high-income country by the World Bank. The history of carbon emissions and exposure to climate risk provides useful insights into the US’ position in the fight against climate change. The following plots give an overview of US’ historic greenhouse gas emissions in perspective with global emission levels, as well as the country’s climate action and sustainability performance.

The US Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The US’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the full line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the dotted line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


From 1990 to 2000, the US’s emissions rose by 14% - which is higher than the global emissions growth of 6% recorded over the same period. However, the US’s emissions decreased from 2000 to 2008 as the global economic downturn caused a decline in energy demand. After a stable emissions trend, the US’s emissions continued its downward trend in and brought its emissions down to nearly 1990 levels in 2012. The US emissions are dominated by the energy sector (86%) which primarily come from burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation. 


In 2012, the US produced over 6.3 billion tonnes CO2 eq. GHG emissions. This is equivalent to the annual energy use of over 685 million US homes (more than twice the U.S. population), or the amount of CO2 being absorbed annually by 30 million km² of forest (three times the size of the U.S). Being one of the world’s top three GHG emitting countries, the US has a tremendous opportunity to curb emissions (particularly in their energy sector) by transitioning into renewable technologies. (Source: WRI 2018; World Bank, 2018)


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The US Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The US’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

graph

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the full line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the dotted line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


From 1990 to 2000, the US’s emissions rose by 14% - which is higher than the global emissions growth of 6% recorded over the same period. However, the US’s emissions decreased from 2000 to 2008 as the global economic downturn caused a decline in energy demand. After a stable emissions trend, the US’s emissions continued its downward trend in and brought its emissions down to nearly 1990 levels in 2012. The US emissions are dominated by the energy sector (86%) which primarily come from burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation. 


In 2012, the US produced over 6.3 billion tonnes CO2 eq. GHG emissions. This is equivalent to the annual energy use of over 685 million US homes (more than twice the U.S. population), or the amount of CO2 being absorbed annually by 30 million km² of forest (three times the size of the U.S). Being one of the world’s top three GHG emitting countries, the US has a tremendous opportunity to curb emissions (particularly in their energy sector) by transitioning into renewable technologies. (Source: WRI 2018; World Bank, 2018)


Sustainable Development Goals Index (SDGI) - the US

The US’s performance on sustainable development

The SDG Index describes a country’s progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGI combines indicators of climate action with other socio-economic development measures that contextualise a country’s environmental performance with the rest of its challenges in comparison to reality. 

The global SDG Index score can be interpreted as the percentage of achievement of the goals

Each dot in the plot represents a country and its score (y-axis). Countries at the bottom score lower on the index as the countries at the top. Sweden currently scores the highest at 85 and the Central African Republic scores lowest at 38.

The US’s score of 73 is far below that of Canada (the US’s only North American counterpart) and Northern and Western European countries. Although the US performs well in areas such as economic development and levels of affluence, the country still falls short of addressing many aspects of sustainable development. This is mainly because the US performs poorly on measures like reducing CO2 emissions, raising the share of renewable energy, and changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. (Source: SDGI, 2018) 

The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.

TAKE ACTION

Sustainable Development Goals Index (SDGI) - the US

The US’s performance on sustainable development

graph
The SDG Index describes a country’s progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGI combines indicators of climate action with other socio-economic development measures that contextualise a country’s environmental performance with the rest of its challenges in comparison to reality. 

The global SDG Index score can be interpreted as the percentage of achievement of the goals

Each dot in the plot represents a country and its score (y-axis). Countries at the bottom score lower on the index as the countries at the top. Sweden currently scores the highest at 85 and the Central African Republic scores lowest at 38.

The US’s score of 73 is far below that of Canada (the US’s only North American counterpart) and Northern and Western European countries. Although the US performs well in areas such as economic development and levels of affluence, the country still falls short of addressing many aspects of sustainable development. This is mainly because the US performs poorly on measures like reducing CO2 emissions, raising the share of renewable energy, and changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. (Source: SDGI, 2018) 

The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.

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