Even the most energy conscious people in the U.S. use more than twice the energy of the average person around the world.
And the wealthy even more. Bill Gates’ impact is 10,000 times the national average, an MIT class estimates.
Wealthy or not, whether you live in a cardboard box, whether you grow your own vegetables or have your meat delivered to your via mail order from the Corn Belt to your 18,000-square-foot Maui McMansion, if you live in the U.S., then you contribute more than twice as much greenhouse gas to the atmosphere than the global average.
“Regardless of income, there is a certain floor below which the individual carbon footprint of a person in the U.S. will not drop,” said Timothy Gutowski, professor of mechanical engineering, who taught the class at MIT that calculated the rates of carbon emissions. That sooty “floor” below which nobody in the U.S. can drop is about 8.5 tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions, the class found.
As long as you live in the country that has less than five percent of the world’s population and consumes almost a quarter of the world’s energy (the U.S.), then you are estimated to contribute at least twice and as much as five times as much greenhouse gas to the atmosphere as those living in the rest of the world.
The person with the lowest energy usage was a Buddhist monk who spent six months of every year living in the forest and had total annual spending of $12,500. His carbon footprint was 10.5 tons.