SF Chronicle. China is highly likely to overtake the United States this year or in 2008 as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
New statistics released in Beijing on Wednesday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics show that China’s consumption of fossil fuels rose in 2006 by 9.3%, about the same rate as in previous years, and about eight times higher than the US increase of 1.2%.
This information, along with data from the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based alliance of oil importing nations, also revealed that China’s greenhouse gas emissions have recently been growing by a total amount much greater than that of all industrialized nations put together.
While China’s total greenhouse gas emissions were only 42% of the US level in 2001, they had soared to an estimated 97% of the American level by 2006.
“The magnitude of what’s happening in China threatens to wipe out what’s happening internationally,” said David Fridley, leader of the China Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
“Today’s global warming problem has been caused mainly by us in the West, with the cumulative (carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases) in the atmosphere, but China is contributing to the global warming problem of tomorrow.”
China’s energy consumption per unit of production is 40% higher than the world’s average, and about 70% of its energy comes from coal.