In 2040 the top five emitters of greenhouse gases will account for 40% of all emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The next 5 will account for 10%.
Although we talk of global warming, the warming won’t be global. It will be regional, with some areas barely touched while others get hammered by stronger storms and/or heavier flooding and/or more intense droughts. It’s a real pity we don’t know which regions will suffer most (although scientists have made guesses–I mean projections).
The same is true for those countries causing global warming. If China, the U.S., India, Japan and Russia do not control their energy consumption and emissions it doesn’t matter a damn what other countries do, although you can make the case that we should watch carefully what happens in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, Turkey and Mexico.
But the Big 5 could fix global warming–four of them by going nuclear and India by getting a lot of help to clean up its emissions.
That people in Paris are fighting over the contributions of individual nations to lower emissions is frankly absurd. If the United Kingdom, Australia or even South Africa were to just quit emitting gases, it would have no effect–none–on global warming or climate change in general.
We don’t need global action to fight climate change. We need the Big 5 to clean up their act. There are five 800-pound gorillas in the room. Why are we ignoring them?