Google Maps Don't Lie. Sweden And Canada Among Worst Greenhouse Gas Emitters.

Which countries are the worst greenhouse gas emitters? Now you can see for yourself on this handy Google Map created by a department of the UN and Google. The map shows changes in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2006. Green is good (a decrease in emissions) and purple is bad (an increase).

So who are the worst offenders? Topping the list is Sweden! The country has managed to increase its emissions by 110 percent over that time period. So much for Nordic purity. Following Sweden is Turkey (with a 103 percent increase) and Canada (with a 55 percent increase). Yes, Canada. What is it with these northern countries?

You’d think the U.S. would top the list, but it is actually only the tenth worst country with a 14 percent increase in emissions (still well within purple territory). It is kind of embarrassing that Russia is greener than we are. But at least we are better than Canada (and Sweden).

Or are we? The map itself lets you drill down into the data to find out. You can sort by industry, type of emission (CO2, CH4, N2O, etc), or year, and if click on a country it gives you a detailed breakdown of emissions by economic sector and other variables. For instance, over the 1990 to 2006 time span, Russia has actually seen a 29 percent decrease in emissions, but if you look at just 2006, Russia starts getting pretty purple, and rises to the No. 3 worst emitter. And the USA rises to No. 1.

Hey, we’re No. 1!

Sigh: Apparently, some people in comments and elsewhere thought this post was dead serious. It is really more about the cool Google Map application than the global warming data it illustrates. But for those readers who are humor-challenged (or Swedish), this post was in fact written with tongue firmly in cheek. You see how at the end I completely reverse myself and point out that the USA is actually the worst emitter, but then try to spin it as something to celebrate? Yeah, that would be the giveaway.