by Georgia Davies
Trump claimed the Paris Agreement would only empower the world’s top polluters. But how much petrol does the US actually use compared to other economies?
President Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Agreement. Now that Syria has signed, that leaves the US as the only country in the world to have rejected the accord to tackle the pressing problem of climate change.
Trump cited his campaign promise to help ‘America First’ as justification for withdrawing from the agreement, prompting widespread criticism from scientists, allies, and business leaders. He has ignored exhortations by the UN and other world leaders to reconsider. The EU and China have even forged a new green alliance in the wake of the United States’ withdrawal.
Trump has further remarked that the Paris Agreement would only ‘[empower] some of the world’s top polluting countries.’
But how much petrol does the US actually use when compared to other large economies? The US uses 19,396,000 barrels of petrol per day. That’s enough to fill the Empire State Building almost 3 times over.
It may not surprise you that the US ‘leads’ the world in terms of petrol usage. But it may surprise you to realise just how much petrol the nation uses when compared with other major economies.
China is next with 11,968,000 barrels per day. That’s just under two Empire State Buildings worth.
Russia, which has often been criticised for its lax attitude towards climate change, uses ‘only’ 3,113,000 barrels in comparison – half of a single Empire State Building. This is, however, more per capita than China.
The United Kingdom uses only half of that again – 1,559,000 barrels of petrol.
Scientists have predicted, using computer model scenarios, that leaving climate change unchecked will cause ice sheets to melt at a faster rate, thus raising sea levels and producing more extreme weather. Other countries could follow the United States’ lead and exit the Paris Agreement, resulting in even higher emissions.
The results would be disastrous on farming and trigger mass migrations from those countries most severely affected by the changing weather and its consequences.