Thursday, September 13, 2007

World Population

When considering population and its effects on global warming or climate change, and the proposed solutions, it is important to keep the distribution the world's population in perspective. For example, the United States has only approximately 4.6 % of the world's total population. The U.S. probably has stricter environmental laws than most countries. If a pollution problem is truly global, how much of an effect can the U.S. have?

I know I must be specific about what is a pollutant, and there are many factors to consider. My point here is only to remind everyone about the relative distribution of population, and to keep that in mind when discussing remedies for real or imagined problems.


The 15 most populous nations

Population by region, 2005

The 15 states with most population
From DSW-Datareport 2006 ("Deutschen Stiftung Weltbevölkerung"):
China: 1.32 billion (about 20% of world population)
India: 1.12 billion (about 17%)
United States: 300 million (about 4.6%)
Indonesia: 225 million (about 3.5%)
Brazil: 186 million (about 2.8%)
Pakistan: 165 million (about 2.5%)
Bangladesh: 147 million (about 2.3%)
Russia: 143 million (about 2.2%)
Nigeria: 135 million (about 2.1%)
Japan: 128 million (about 2.0%)
Mexico: 108 million (about 1.7%)
Philippines: 86 million (about 1.3%)
Vietnam: 84 million (about 1.3%)
Germany: 82 million (about 1.3%)
Egypt: 75 million (about 1.2%)
Approximately 4.3 billion people live in these 15 countries, representing roughly two-thirds of the world's population. If added together, all nations in the European Union, with 494 million people - about 7.3% of world's population in 2006 - would be third in the list above.

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