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A Superpower On The Wane?

Not only did the U.S. finish out of the medal chase in the latest global execution standings (we're a distant fifth, and the Supreme Court sure isn't helping us catch up), it now seems that our erstwhile dominance in the field of total carbon emissions has disappeared faster than, well, Arctic sea ice:

China has already overtaken the US as the world's "biggest polluter", a report to be published next month says. The research suggests the country's greenhouse gas emissions have been underestimated, and probably passed those of the US in 2006-2007.

Fortunately we're still way out in front when it comes to per-capita carbon emissions, but this is no time to rest on our laurels. Thirty years ago no one would have predicted that we could possibly be overtaken so soon in the absolute emissions standings, and now look where we are.

--Josh Patashnik