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What percentage of the world's "carbon emissions" come from the United States?

Carbon Emissions

Terry Tamminen (Author & Environmental Policy Advisor) gives expert video advice on: What percentage of the world's "carbon emissions" come from the United States?; Do I have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment? and more...

What percentage of the world's "carbon emissions" come from the United States?

The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. And I argue that we're actually home to much more of that, because countries like China and India, with their emerging economies and where they're building 1,000 megawatts a week of coal-fired power plants, that electricity that they're building the capacity of is to power factories that are producing plastic flamingos and Nike shoes to sell to Wal-Mart to sell to the United States. So we are the direct or indirect cause, in my view, of at least half of the world's carbon emissions.

How many pounds of carbon emissions does the average car emit in one year?

The average car emits about six tons of air pollution every single year.

Do I have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment?

It's an absolutely false choice, the notion of having to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Time after time, we've proven that a healthy environment is what results in a healthy economy. Think, for example, about air pollution related to petroleum. Right now, in this country, we're spending well over 600 billion dollars every single year in public and private health insurance and other costs related to disease and death that is related to our petroleum addiction. That is money that could be put into health care, into schools, or into things that we care much more about.

What is "crankcase oil" and why is it so dangerous to US waterways?

Crankcase oil is the oil that we use to lubricate the engines of our cars. The crankcase oil ends up down in the crankcase, the place where the transmission does its business, and it gets full of heavy metals as the parts are wearing. The metal parts of the engine grind against one another, and it gets very, very hot from that mechanical action, and that heating tends to create even more toxic materials. A lot of that crankcase oil and toxic material leaks out onto our streets. In fact, the equivalent of about eleven Exxon Valdez oil spills every single year leaks onto our streets and highways in the United States. And when it rains much of that crankcase oil and toxic material washes into our rivers and into our coastal oceans.

What is "bunker fuel" and why is it so toxic to the environment?

Bunker fuel is the material that is burned for propulsion in most ships, and it's used motor oil. When you take your car to have its oil changed and they take away the used oil from your car in big 55 gallon drums, a lot of that gets sold to the shipping industry where they put it in their engines and just burn it exactly as it comes out of that barrel, exactly as it came out of your car. And when your oil gets changed - the reason you change it is because it's full of flecks of metal from the grinding of your gears and so forth. It's been superheated so it's now very thick and full of dirty materials, and it's extremely toxic then when it's burned.

What are "two-stroke engines" and why do they generate so much pollution?

Engines typically come in what's called four-stroke or two-stroke. That's just the number of movements of the piston inside the engine. Without getting into the details of how engines work, four-strokes are designed to operate more cleanly than two-strokes. Two-strokes lose as much as half of the oil or gasoline that's put into the engine, which is discharged as air polution.