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China's carbon emissions rising faster than expected - study

Mar 12, 2008 - XFN-Asia

China's carbon emissions have been increasing at an average rate of 11 pct per year since 2004, far higher than the 2-5 pct estimate set by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a study by the University of California, Berkeley and UC San Diego.

Researchers said that by 2010, China's total carbon emissions will have risen by 600 mln tons since 2000, far in advance of the 116 mln tons of emission reductions pledged in the Kyoto Protocol.

"The projected annual increase in China alone over the next several years is greater than the current emissions produced by either Great Britain or Germany," the researchers said in a statement.

They based their findings on pollution data collected from 30 Chinese industrial cities, and also included information on waste gas emissions supplied by China's State Environmental Protection Administration.

They said that previous studies were based on information that was nearly a decade old, and did not take full account of the massive rise in per capita energy consumption since the year 2000.

Meanwhile, responsibility for the construction of new power plants was switched to local government officials, "who had less incentive and fewer resources to build cleaner, more efficient plants" and thereby "locked themselves into a long-run emissions trajectory that is much higher than people had anticipated," the authors said.

At a press conference yesterday, Xie Zhenhua, the deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission in charge of China's emission reduction policies, said that the country was continuing to push for a system of "differential responsibilities" in any new global climate change deal, saying that developed countries should still undertake the bulk of agreed global emission reductions.

Negotiations on a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, are expected to be completed in Copenhagen next year, and China is also pushing for developed countries to transfer more green technology to the developing world as part of any new deal.