China becomes top CO2 emitter, overtaking
June 20, 2007 - The Associated Press
China has overtaken the United States
as the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2),
a Dutch research institution announced Tuesday.
According to figures released by the
Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, an environmental
adviser to the Dutch government and the United Nations,
increasing demand for coal to generate electricity
and a surge in cement production have pushed China's
recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those of the United
The agency said China produced 6.2 billion
tons of CO2 last year, up 8.4 percent from the previous
year, compared with 5.8 billion tons from the United
The United States saw a 1.4 percent fall,
which analysts say is due to its economic slowdown.
China, whose emissions were 2 percent below those
of the United States in 2005, surpassed the country
in CO2 emissions by 8 percent in 2006, according to
But China's pollution remains relatively
low per head of population, about a quarter of that
in the United States and half that of Britain, which
produced 600 million tons of CO2, the agency said.
Analysts said the latest estimates will add to pressure
on the world's politicians to reach an agreement on
climate change that includes the Chinese economy.
The agency estimated CO2 emissions from fossil fuel
burning and cement production and omitted sources
of other greenhouse gases such as methane from agriculture
and nitrous oxide from industrial processes.
also excluded other sources of CO2 such as aviation
and shipping as well as deforestation, gas flaring
and underground coal fires, it said.
had not been expected to overtake those of the United
States for several years, although the International
Energy Agency, an international energy policy adviser
to 26 countries including Japan, the United States
and Britain, predicted it may happen in 2007.