Last week's look at increased forest cover and a reduction in illegal logging was wonderfully hopeful. However, I recently reviewed a report that said we're still polluting far too much. The report, "Long-Term Trend in Global CO2 Emissions" was prepared by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

Some highlights (as well as the lows) were:

  • Global emissions of carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, jumped 45% between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tons last year, the European Commission reports.
  • The 27 member nations of the European Union (EU-27) cut CO2 emissions 7% during the 1990-2010 period and Russia slashed them 28%.
  • Japanese emissions remained fairly constant.
  • In contrast to the others, U.S. emissions increased 5%.
  • The U.S. emits 16.9 tons of CO2 per capita per year, more than twice that of the EU-27's 8.1 tons and China's 6.8 tons.
  • Chinese per capita CO2 emissions of 6.8 tons are below the EU-27 average, equaling those of Italy.
When you look at where the U.S. stands internationally, clearly we have a long way to go toward reducing our own individual carbon outputs. It's great to be an industry that has the potential to contribute positively to the overall carbon conditions, but as individuals, let's think more about our actions.

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")