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Don't Blame us for Poor Environmental Record, China Says

In 2006, China's carbon dioxide emissions were greater than those of the United States, according to an analysis by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. With this, China tops the list of carbon dioxide, CO2, emitting countries for the first time.

In 2005, CO2 emissions from China were still two percent below those of the United States. In 2006, they were eight percent higher.

"There will still be some uncertainty about the exact numbers, but this is the best and most up to date estimate available," said Jos Olivier, a scientist who crunched the numbers at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

The figures are based on a preliminary estimate by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency using recently published energy data from BP, British Petroleum, as well as cement production data. Cement clinker production is a major source of CO2 emissions in China.

China has a large share in global cement production -- about 44 percent in 2006.

Nationally the cement industry's share in China's CO2 emissions is almost nine percent -- 550 megatons out of a total of about 6200 megaton of CO2.

The use of fossil fuels and industrial processes are the dominant human sources of carbon dioxide, which is the most prevalent greenhouse gas. Gases from the burning of coal, oil and gas are increasingly blanketing the planet, preventing the radiation of the Sun's heat back into space.

Of all industrial processes, cement clinker production is the largest source of carbon dioxide. Globally, it contributes around four percent to the total of CO2 emissions from fuel use and industrial activities, the Netherlands agency said.

In 2006, the total of China's CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased by nine percent.

In the USA in that same year, 2006, emissions decreased by 1.4 percent, compared to 2005.

In the original 15 European Union countries, in that same year, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels remained more or less constant.

In 2005 there was a decrease by 0.8 percent, according to a recent report by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency compiling data from the EU member states.

Globally, in 2006, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use increased by about 2.6 percent, which is less than the 3.3 percent increase in 2005.

The increase in 2006 is mainly due to a 4.5 percent increase in coal consumption, the Environmental Assessment Agency said.

© 2007 Environment News Service and reprinted by special permission

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Albion Monitor   June 21, 2007   (

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