A Carbon Tide: Past, Present and Future Answered
The New York Times has a really nice graph showing the world's historical and projected carbon emissions here at A Carbon Tide: Past, Present and FutureGlobal emissions of carbon dioxide, measured by the weight of carbon it contains.
Their choice to display it in flash rather than a similarly-sized image is somewhat annoying, but the chart itself does a nice job presenting a type of data that is often difficult to comprehend. Getting people to truly grasp the size and scale of some of the world's energy issues is one of the key challenges in making progress on those issues. In 2004, 7.9 billion metric tons of carbon were released -- did you make good use of your metric ton?
Here's a thought experiment in that same vein: The San Francisco oil spill was originally reported as a 140 gallon spill, but turned out to be approximately 58,000 gallons. How much worse is a 58,000 gallon spill compared to a 140 gallon spill?