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 user 2007-04-25 at 11:00:00 am Views: 52
  • #18052

    China gas emissions ‘may pass US’

    China could overtake the US this year as the world’s largest emitter of
    greenhouse gases, a leading international energy group has said.

    The International Energy Agency had predicted China’s carbon dioxide emissions would pass the US by 2010.

    But IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said the rate of China’s economic growth this year defied expectations.

    His comments come days after a Chinese government report warned of the impact of climate change on the country.

    The report, compiled by several government bodies, said that higher
    temperatures would lead to worsening droughts, spreading deserts and
    reduced water supplies.

    But it stopped short of recommending cuts in greenhouse gas output and risking the country’s economic growth.

    Coal reliance

    Mr Birol, of the Paris-based IEA, which advises governments on energy
    policy, said: “China’s economic growth and use of coal production over
    the last few months has surprised us all.

    “If they continue to surprise us in terms of very high
    economic growth and corresponding coal production, China will overtake
    the US much earlier than 2009 – more like this year or the next.”

    Though that gap could widen considerably in the coming
    years, he said per capita emissions from China still remained well
    below those of the US and other developed countries.

    But he warned that both China and India – another
    fast-developing nation – needed to be involved in global efforts to
    tackle greenhouse gas emissions, otherwise there would be “no chance
    the climate change fight can be won”.

    He also said slowing China’s growth was not the answer
    to curbing high greenhouse gas emissions – rather it needed a change of
    approach to energy production.

    “China is a developing country and it needs growth,” he
    said. “The question is what kind of energy and policies will be used in
    order to get that high level of economic growth.

    “If they were to use much more sustainable policies and
    energy efficiency it would be good both for China’s economy and for the
    climate change issue.”

    China is heavily reliant on highly polluting coal for its energy, and mines far more coal than any other country.

    While the Chinese government has pledged to try to develop alternative
    energy sources, it says wealthy nations are the most to blame for high
    gas emissions.