I stumbled upon these two graphs showing the evolution in time of energy use per capita and CO2 emissions per capita in different countries, and I was baffled. I have to confess that I had a wrong idea about economic development and I thought I would share this with you
First, the energy consumption per capita
It seems that the citizens of the developed world are increasing their consumption more rapidly than the developing world, with some exceptions that can be explained by the particular circumstances of some countries, for instance Quatar. Nevertheless, the growth is much slower than I would have expected. In France or Switzerland it has increased by something like 15% in the last 30 years. A Chinese or Brazilian citizen is consuming now about the same amount of energy as a Swiss citizen in 1960, and their consumption is not increasing that rapidly. The overall picture is, however, that the energy consumption per individual is fairly constant trough time and it mostly depends on the country one is living. I interpret this as a sign that it is the infrastructure of a country and not the morning choice car-or-bike what is relevant. am I mislead?
The second graph shows the CO2 emissions per capita in each country and the total CO2 emissions per countryhttp://junkcharts.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341e992c53ef0120a81ae3fa970b-pi
For European countries we see an amazingly constant behavior through time. The overall picture for all countries is that, with some particular exceptions, there is no 'explosive growth' in CO2 emissions per capita. The explosive growth, for instance in Chinese emissions, stems from population growth. am I correct to interpret this again as a sign that national policies (source energy production, for instance) are the key factor and not individual choices?