This Map Shows Where All That Carbon Dioxide Is Coming From

Global carbon emissions have an obvious bias

09_12_2014_new york.jpg
Matt Mawson/Corbis

One of the big problems with climate change is that carbon dioxide is invisible. It's hard to notice something you can't see. Because if carbon dioxide were visible, the eastern U.S. and western Europe would be choking on the stuff worse than Londoners choked on coal soot in the 1800s.

You're probably aware that western countries account for most of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. But actually seeing it, as in the map below, makes that notion perfectly clear. The map shows the world's carbon emissions from 1997 to 2010, say the scientists who made it. The data came from satellite measurements and reported emissions rates from factories and power plants, among other sources.

<a href="">Asefi-Najafabady et al.</a> / <a href="">Arizona State University</a>
Lest you think this carbon dioxide emissions map is really just a population map in disguise, look at this map (albeit from 1994) of the global population distribution:
<a href="">USDA / Wikimedia Commons</a>

The massive population centers in Asia and South America are conspicuously missing.

According to Kevin Gurney, one of the scientists behind the map, their carbon emission monitoring system could be used to independently verify how much carbon dioxide various places are emitting:

FFDAS Carbon Dioxide emissions

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.