Looking at climate change through world maps

Welcome to my first instalment of Map Monday. The maps in this post, and their descriptions, come from a fantastic website at carbonmap.org. This particular series, called The Carbon Map, actually has an animated visualization of the maps shown below, plus more. I highly recommend taking a look at their site.

I’ll let the cartograms (which we learned about in my recent post on World Maps), speak for themselves.

Population: In this map, Country sizes show total population (2013) – which includes all residents except refugees. Asia balloons enormously, emphasizing that more than half of the world’s people live there.



Extraction: In this map, Country sizes show the eventual CO emissions from oil, coal and gas extracted (2013) each year. Many of these fuels are exported rather than used domestically, but arguably the countries extracting and selling fossil fuels bear a degree of responsibility for the resulting emissions.

Emissions: In this map, Countries are sized to show their annual CO emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production (2013). This is the conventional way to view national emissions, but it ignores imports and exports of fossil fuels, goods and services.

Consumption: In this map, Country sizes show the carbon footprint of all goods and services consumed in a nation (2012), including imports and excluding exports. Compared to the Emissions map, major exporters such as China shrink, while net importers such as the UK grow.

People at risk: In this map, Country sizes show the number of people injured, left homeless, displaced or requiring emergency assistance due to floods, droughts or extreme temperatures in a typical year. Climate change is expected to exacerbate many of these threats. And may I add that there are populations at risk that don’t show up because of low populations, but millennia-old cultures as far-ranging as the Inuit in the far north and low-lying island nations are at huge risk from these warming temperatures and rising seas.

Sea level: In this map, Country sizes show the number of people living less than 5m above sea level. Some low-lying populations will find themselves exposed to rising sea levels in the coming decades and centuries.


Yes, that’s what we’re doing to our planet, folks. It’s not a pretty sight, is it?!

This entry was posted in Climate change, History and Politics, Map Monday, Odds and Ends and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Looking at climate change through world maps

  1. Pingback: The Guardians – A Poem | I Do Run

  2. Pingback: Looking at climate change through world maps – My life as a Geography student

  3. Roy McCarthy says:

    Intriguing, informative, scary. I note that Canada is squeezed to insignificance by its bullying southern neighbour in all these maps.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Lol. That’s OK, we work at flying under the radar screen. In actual fact, our CO2 emissions record is not a lot better than the US on a per person basis, largely because of the oil sands in Alberta, but we get a bye in these maps because of population is so small in relation to our size. I’d rather we had something to be proud of in this particular area.

  4. barryh says:

    Great maps. Maybe shows why major contributor US is not very concerned about the effects of climate change, but Asia jolly well should be!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Sadly, yes. That and willful ignorance. Why stop screwing our children’s and grandchildren’s futures when we can keep making money extracting and consuming fossil fuels. Clearly no sense of responsibility for anything or anyone beyond their borders, or future generations within. I speak of the current administration, not of all Americans.

  5. Dr. John Persico Jr. says:

    Jane, Very interesting. I like maps and info-graphics. The old saying that a picture is worth ten thousand words is very true. One of the reasons I think reading and writing may be diminishing in importance as visual arts take on more variety and power of conveying information. John

    • Jane Fritz says:

      You could be right, John, insofar as there are an increasing number of publications that use infographics, and of course graphic novels are very popular with young people. But, gosh, I hope they don’t stop reading. You can’t really form your own interpretation of maps, infographics, or entertaining, well-illustrated online news and articles if you haven’t done much reading. Of course, I’m old (!), but I am encouraged by the numbers of families who frequent both our bookstores and public libraries. Fingers crossed.

  6. Now you have me really confused!

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