Pisa scores, CO2 Emissions and climate debt

Pisa scores, CO2 Emissions and climate debt


510,000 15-year old students from 65 countries were Pisa tested and ranked in Mathematics, Reading and Science in 2012. The following compares the average Pisa scores with 1) CO2 Emissions per capita and 2) Increase in Climate Contributions (climate debt) since 2010. The question is this: Do the countries which successfully emphasize “clever students” also emphasize climate responsibility and reductions in CO2 Emissions? Or may the student’s impressive skills be aimed at other national goals, such as economic growth?

The table below compares Pisa scores with CO2 Emissions and GDP. The overall picture is clear: The top Pisa scoring countries emit by far the most CO2. Note that Emissions have increased by 2.7 tons in this country group since 2000. The middle scoring countries emit 4.5 tons less than the top scoring countries and the lowest scoring countries emit 6.1 tons less. The 135 countries (in ClimatePositions) which are not Pisa tested emit 9.4 tons less than the top scoring countries. The 186 countries outside the top scoring group have increased the CO2 Emissions by 0.5 tons since 2000. GDP correlate with both Pisa scores and CO2 Emissions.

Pisa scores 2012 Tons of GDP(ppp)
(large and small countries CO2 Emissions per capita
count equally) per capita 2011 2012
Highest scores (12 countries) 13.5 $44,291
Middle scores (25 countries) 9.0 $36,506
Lowest scores (26 countries) 7.4 $19,228
Not tested (135 countries) 4.1 $7,676


The diagram below shows the 30 countries with the highest scores (Shanghai-China and Liechtenstein are not included) compared with the increase in Climate Contribution (climate debt) since 2010. The dotted line shows the general trend which correlate beautifully with the Pisa scores. Of course a number of Pisa tested countries differ from the general trend. Australia and the United States destroy the climate significantly more than indicated by their Pisa scores!? Singapore is a first class monster-country: Top performances both in climate destruction and clever students.

Pisa scores and Climate Contributions

A well-educated and clever population appears to be necessary if a country effectively wants to destroy the climate and undermine the future of humanity. How the clever students are transformed into wise citizens of the world seems to be the challenge.

Source on CO2 Emissions: EIA, U.S. Energy Information Administration (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Information on national GDP(ppp-$) per capita: Worldbank (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Three links on Pisa tests: ‘Wikipedia‘, ‘OECD‘ and ‘The Guardian‘.
Drawing by Claus Andersen 2014.

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