Fri, Jun 22, 2007 - Page 5 News List

China overtakes US as top carbon dioxide emitter


China has overtaken the US as the world's top producer of carbon dioxide emissions -- the biggest man-made contributor to global warming -- based on the latest widely accepted energy consumption data, a Dutch research group says.

A report released on Tuesday by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency said China overtook the US in carbon dioxide emissions by about 7.5 percent last year. While China was 2 percent below the US in 2005, voracious coal consumption and cement production caused the numbers to rise rapidly, the group said.

"It's an expression of their fast industrial production activities and their fast development," Jos G.J. Olivier, the agency's senior scientist who compiled the figures, said on Wednesday.

The agency is independent but paid by the Dutch government to advise it on environmental policy.

The study said China, which relies on coal for two-thirds of its energy needs and makes 44 percent of the world's cement, produced 6.23 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide last year. In comparison, the US, which gets half its electricity from coal, produced 5.8 billion tonnes, it said.

A woman in the press office of China's State Environmental Protection Agency called the report "irresponsible."

Earlier figures indicated China would likely surpass the US in greenhouse gas emissions as early as 2009, although other predictions said it could happen this year.

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