A report to be published next month in the Journal of Environment Economics and Management by researchers from the University of California, suggests China’s greenhouse gas emissions have been underestimated, and probably passed those of the U.S. in 2006-2007, the BBC reports.
This isn’t the first report to find that China’s CO2 emissions have surpassed those of the U.S. A report released in June by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency estimated that surging power demand from China’s rapidly expanding economy caused carbon dioxide emissions to rise nine percent in 2006. That increase, coupled with a slight decline in the U.S., meant that China’s emissions for the year surpassed those of the U.S. by eight percent.
The new report warns that if China doesn’t change its energy policies, its increases in greenhouse gases will be several times larger than the cuts in emissions being made by rich nations under the Kyoto Protocol.
But the report, which shows that China’s per capita emissions remain low, may be good for China’s negotiating position, according to the BBC.
The Chinese – and the UN – insist that rich countries with high per capita levels of pollution must cut emissions first, and help poorer countries to invest in clean technology.
America’s per capita emissions are five to six times higher than China’s, even though China has become the top manufacturing economy.