The biggest reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the history of the United Kingdom and France occurred well before either country began fighting global warming, according to a chart published Monday by a global warming researcher.
The chart shows green policies enacted to slow global warming failed to substantially decrease CO2 emissions. The large decreases in both countries happened when they switched from coal power to nuclear energy. The U.K. and France invested heavily in nuclear energy in the late 1970s and early 1980s because neither country had much coal, oil or natural gas and foreign suppliers were of dubious reliability after the 1973 Arab oil embargo.
The relative contribution of Britain and France to climate change in three graphs. pic.twitter.com/fsvpLEYWx4
— Robert Wilson (@countcarbon) May 9, 2016
The U.K. and France are far from the only European countries to not reduce CO2 emissions.
A report complied by the European Commission published last week estimated the European Union’s CO2 emissions will increase by 0.7 percent this year relative to 2014, even though the continent has spent an estimated $1.2 trillion financially supporting wind, solar and bio-energy with the goal of lowering CO2 emissions.
The rising emissions are likely due to failed EU policies. A study last month by environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E) determined the EU’s plans to fight global warming with biofuel actually ended up increasing CO2 emissions. On average, biofuel from vegetable oil creates 80 percent more CO2 emissions than the conventional oil it replaces. The report estimates the biofuels create new emissions equivalent to putting an extra 12 million cars on the road.
The U.S. spends far less than the EU supporting green energy, but American CO2 emissions are falling rapidly thanks to the development of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which the EU has repeatedly slowed with regulations. EU regulations, financial support for green energy and taxes cause the average European to spend 26.9 cents per kilowatt-hour on electricity, according to calculations performed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The average American only spends 10.4 cents.
The infographic was compiled by Robert Wilson, an ecosystem and climate change researcher at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, based on data from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Wilson has a long research history studying the potential impacts of global warming.
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