The World's Most Polluted Countries

Tyler Durden's picture

Much has been said in the past year about China's unprecedented pollution problem. So much, in fact, that both China and Goldman Sachs have noticed, because it goes without saying that it is not easy to conduct a healthy investment climate in a city in which one needs a mask just to go outside and enjoy the lack of sun. Which is why we were amused to see the latest gimmick conceived by the Goldman reality adjustment wizards who have come up with a new metric: pollution per unit of GDP.

This is how they explain it:

As part of the efforts to reduce China’s carbon footprint, the Chinese government announced in 2011 its goal to reduce carbon intensity (CO2 emission per unit GDP) by 17% in 2015 from 2010 levels. Based on IEA’s estimate of China’s CO2 emission in 2010, we estimate that China’s 2015 carbon intensity target could be around 149g/Rmb, compared to 179g/Rmb in 2010. If China is successful in reducing its carbon intensity not only would it be more comparable with the rest of the world, but it may also serve as a strong catalyst for other countries to taper their emissions

In other words, while you may be drowning in unbearable smog (don't believe us? just check @BeijingAir), all those unknown toxic particles you are inhaling are actually not that bad when one divides them by the epic housing bubble and ghost cities you call GDP. Visullay this looks as follows:

Taken to its absurd extreme, should China build an infinite amount of empty cities in the Gobi desert, or break enough windows and thus push its GDP to somewhere just why of positive Keynesian infinity, China's GDP problem should melt away.

Joking aside, if one were to measure pollution in its conventional way, in terms of PM2.5 concentration per volume of air, China is really not all that bad. According to the WHO there are at least 6 countries that will need to take some pointers from Goldman on how best to fudge their GDP so their Pollution/GDP ratio also gradually drifts away to zero.

Presenting: the most polluted countries in the world.

Source: WHO and Goldman Sachs

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max2205's picture

It's clear that colder is cleaner....or it just looks that way covered in ice or snow.


Happy EPA

Troll Magnet's picture

So we are supposed to believe this shit from WHO & Goldman?

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

Seriously, why are we still having this moot conversation? CO2 is NOT pollution, it comes out of every breathing creature on the planet, and has gushed out of volcanoes/vents since the beginning of time.

Atmospheric CO2 levels reached a saturation plateau and ceased to cause measurable warming for an increase in concentration back 10s of 1000s of years ago.

Not to mention that every green plant on the planet sort of likes CO2, and is willing to trade us for the 02 that we die without. Why are we even engaging in dialog with these climate scare clowns? They aren't listening because even they don't believe what they're saying, it is just a means to an end.

Someone in the past made the prophetic statement that the PTB would tax the very air we breathe at some point in the future and was laughed at. Guess what?

zerozulu's picture

I wonder why no one talks about planting trees?

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

I was reading about the 'Little Ice Age', between roughly 1550-1750 (interestingly we largely only have data from the Northern Hemisphere, for that period).  Of course it was preceded by a 'warm period', in which the populations of Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia would have experienced a boom.

So the author suggests the 'Little Ice Age' may have been contributed to by HUMANS stopping their methods of 'slash and burn' farming in North America.  Stopping their farming because they were dead.  From disease.  All in the effort to link any change in the climate back to human actions.  Any way... What I thought was interesting was the author was completely glossing over the fact: "the population decreased due to increased mortality rates, which in turn had an impact on the extent of slash and burn farming... which (supposedly) had an impact on the climate."

The choices then are:

Decrease the planet's population, or

Plant more trees (and burn fewer).

I just found it interesting the author (Charles C Mann) didn't follow his conjecture to its logical conclusion.

Badabing's picture

Japan #18 what a joke!

did they forget the F word?

jeff montanye's picture

i don't think co2 has much to do with the graph above comparing countries, the crux of the headline. nor are the top half dozen or so countries particularly volcanic.


you may ask what is PM2.5? 

Particulate matter, or PM, is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Particles can be suspended in the air for long periods of time. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small that individually they can only be detected with an electron microscope.

Many manmade and natural sources emit PM directly or emit other pollutants that react in the atmosphere to form PM. These solid and liquid particles come in a wide range of sizes.

Particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter (PM10) pose a health concern because they can be inhaled into and accumulate in the respiratory system. Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) are referred to as "fine" particles and are believed to pose the greatest health risks. Because of their small size (approximately 1/30th the average width of a human hair), fine particles can lodge deeply into the lungs.

this seems, to me, a reasonable measure of pollution.  there are certainly others.


Sean7k's picture

We also might want to add: water pollution, soil pollution, radiation pollution, indoor pollution from off gasing and food pollution from chemical treatments and genetic modification. Finally, one of my favorites: mind pollution from media, religion, education, politicians and propaganda, false science and societal destructon.



Flakmeister's picture

Oh my, a denialati using discredited nonsense, i.e.  Making up shit about saturation and twisting factoids to suit an otherwise intellectually bankrupt agenda....

Toburk's picture

Co2 emmisions per NOMINAL unit of GDP.


Hahahahahahahahaha, inflation solves all probelms, even polution.

DeusHedge's picture

me? no, I was just thinking of how you could get a cupcake out of a cube of plastic in the next 50 years.

DeadFred's picture

Have you considered dousing yourself in Raid? Just a thought, I don't intend to.

thamnosma's picture

Nah, I only spray people named Fred.

DeadFred's picture

Waste of time since Fred is already Dead

falconflight's picture

Issac Hayes where the fck you been? Or was the Curtis Mayfield?

Citxmech's picture

Mayfield.  His "Best Of" album has some really good stuff on it.

thamnosma's picture

I truly feel the same.  No, I don't want to kill off all the masses for the elite, I'd like to reduce them all across the board.   Imagine another 100 years of this -- will we run out of landfills for all our non-biodegradable trash?   Hell, we can still find earthen artifacts from thousands of years ago.

Calmyourself's picture

Dr. Ehrlich, paging Dr. Ehrlich your wanted in the Soylent Green peace and passing room.  Your first asshole..

falconflight's picture

Then ban disposable diapers, that filthy convenience accounts for more than 30 percent of landfill volume.  

Pants McPants's picture

Well what's stopping you?  You have it within your power to reduce world population by one.

But methinks you were being coy above - you want other people to die so as to cause you less of an inconvenience.

Sounds a little elitist, like something a Rockefeller or Rothschild would say, don'tcha think?

jeff montanye's picture

maybe.  in any case world population growth is slowing, many countries such as china, iran, much of europe, russia are already under replacement rate.

as women gain a little education, money and power (freedom from male control) they choose to have fewer children, nearly universally.

the above is baked in the cake.  as for the economic growth/pollution increase which will accompany each of these increasingly rarer additional humans, the kondratieff winter is more of a maybe. but it certainly looks like the leaves are changing color.

cocky roach's picture

I think we should reduce very specific populations, such as bankers and CFR members. I have this gut feeling that with 0,01% less humans we might do a lot better in general. But what do I know, I'm just a roach...

orangegeek's picture

speak for yourself - can the hyperbole too

falconflight's picture

Did you forget your sarc on/ tag or are you just another HuffPuff prole?  Just askin :)

Flakmeister's picture

As opposed to a run-of-the-mill Hedgetard?

jbvtme's picture did you even get one down arrow for that

Andre's picture

OH MY GOD! IT'S CO2! It's turrible!

Fukushima? New Mexico? Hanford? That's just progress.

I still find it interesting we talk about overpopulation, when the results of corporate activity in support of consumerism are more extensive and destructive.

X-defiler's picture

Stop giving cockroaches a bad wrap. They are at least useful to the ecosystem.

Flying Wombat's picture

Japan might leapfrog every country what with the hairbrained Fukushima dealings.  Hear the latest?

Fukushima: Japan Building Giant Ice Wall As TEPCO Gets Go Ahead

Sambo's picture

Climate change = Ice wall melting


NoDebt's picture

CO2 isn't pollution and it doesn't cause sky-darkening smog.  That's other pollutants like NOx and sulfur compounds that do that (think:  1970s Los Angeles).

thamnosma's picture

Correct.  Amazing difference between 1970's Los Angeles and today.  That soup was horrific.

Flying Wombat's picture

I remember it well ... cough!   


And this whole CO2 as pollutant nonsense must be stopped...  Sure, if it was a huge percentage of the atmosphere maybe we'd fairly call it a pollutant.  But at 0.4%?  The US EPA needs to take its head out of its ass and stop acting as a captured regulatory agency for the neo-environmental movement.  Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where astroturf public relations "science" didn't substitute for real science?  

Flying Wombat's picture

If any of you are in the Southern Oregon area and want to learn more about the "neo-environmental" movement, I'll be hosting a free screening of the outstanding documentary "BLUE."  J.D. King, the film maker, will be joining me.  Click here to learn more, and here if you have a Facebook account.  If you're not in the area but have friends that live in Southern Oregon, send them the info.  This whole "war on carbon" is not based on science but only the precautionary principle.  Climate change is not settled science, no mater what some people say.   The trailer for the movie makes for informative 2 minute viewing:

logicalman's picture

The climate WILL change.

Preparing for it has to be sensible, whatever the cause.


abgary1's picture

The Americans are complaining about Canada's dirty oil and Canada did not even make the list.

Goldilocks's picture

Wall•e Official Trailer (2:20)

WALL-E Spacewalk (Define Dancing) (2:39)

bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

Last I heard plants needed CO2 to breath, so they could fart O. Maybe its O thats the poison not the CO2 but: then that seems a tough sell with O breathers making the calls.
Cant have O without plants doing the hard labor of making somthing sweet, and Us living on plant farts. Umm the sweet smell of plant farts.

Sean7k's picture

"Plants require oxygen during the day as well, because respiration doesn't stop. But they produce more oxygen during the day than they use up, so an excess of oxygen exists. At night, plants do not photosynthesise, but their respiration produces carbon dioxide (not monoxide). Plants require little oxygen during the night"

buzzsaw99's picture

The squid won't stop short stroking the agw angle. CO2 is not pollution. Lead, arsenic, mercury, sulphur, that's pollution. CO2 is harmless. Nobody pollutes moar than China.

NoDecaf's picture

So basically the right side of the chart is consuming what the left side produces.

beatus12's picture

canada's not on the radar probably because some of the 

cities can register as low as 4 for pm2.5


blindman's picture

what about depleted uranium and iraq?
what about thorium, cesium...etc.. and japan?

entirely different discussion i guess.

Azwethinkweiz's picture

I call bullshit. I'd think any country the US has gone to war against would definitley make the top 5 considering we dump our nuclear waste all over them. And Japan should be number 1 considering they have a nuclear reactor spewing cancer causing radiation into both ground and air....which is (assuming that is considered a pollutant) making it's way to the West Coast of the USSA.

Cannnnn youuuu smelllll what Barackkkk is coookinggg? (obscure reference to The Rock via his WWF career)

logicalman's picture

Let's ask a simple question....

Are humans fucking up the planet?



Space Animatoltipap's picture

Many people just wildly speculate based on egoism, ignorance and fear. Everything is perfect. Just link up with the Almighty One.

blindman's picture

yes we are, but so is everything else on the planet.
volcanoes, earthquakes, ice sheets, waterfalls,
tornadoes, tsunamis, elephants, sharks, geese,
rats, bamboo, ivy league schools, dirty restaurants,
dirty water dogs, ultra violet light, opium,
did you know there have been found over 3000 different
strains of bacteria, never mind the virus particles
and trace narcotics, on a single one dollar bill?
meteors, lightning, solar flares, gamma rays from deep space,
poison ivy, and more.
the danger in adopting the idea that man is destroying
the planet is that it leads directly to the conclusion
that mass murder is a public service, you must appreciate
that logistical trap, no? how fragile is our morality?
we are up our environment/s, the planet does both,
create and destroy those environments in both dramatic
and subtle ways. the thing called life works in wondrous
and disturbing ways, apparently fucking up is a huge part
of it. what happened to the wise men? weren't they supposed
to offer something of value to the whole banquet?