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MNP Estimates that China Surpassed US in CO2 Emissions in 2006

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use by region (not including cement production). Click to enlarge.

A preliminary estimate by The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Milieu- en Natuurplanbureau, MNP) concludes that China’s CO2 emissions in 2006 surpassed those of the USA by 8%, rising to 6,200 megatonnes. This includes CO2 emissions from industrial processes, notably cement production. With this, China tops the list of CO2 emitting countries for the first time.

In 2005, China’s CO2 emissions were 2% below those of the US. MNP based its estimate on recently published BP energy data and cement production data.

Of all industrial processes, cement clinker production is the largest source of CO2. It contributes around 4% to the total of CO2 emissions from fuel use and industrial activities, globally. China has a large share in global cement production (about 44% in 2006), and cement production’s domestic share of CO2 emissions in China is almost 9% (550 megatonnes out of a total of the total 6,200 megatonnes).

In 2006, the total of China’s CO2  emissions from fossil fuels increased by 9% from 2005 levels. In the US, emissions in 2006 decreased by 1.4%, compared to 2005 levels. In the European Union countries (the EU 15) in that same year, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels remained more or less constant; in 2005 there was a decrease by 0.8%, according to a recent report by the EEA compiling data from the member states.

In 2006, worldwide CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use increased by about 2.6%—a slower rate of increase than the 3.3% in 2005. The 2.6% increase is mainly due to a 4.5% increase in global coal consumption, of which China contributed more than two-thirds. In the 1990-2006 period global fossil-fuel related CO2 emissions increased more than 35%. According to MNP’s analysis:

  • Global CO2 emissions from coal combustion increased 4.5% (+500 megatonnes CO2). China contributed most to this increase with a 9% increase in 2006 (vs. 12% in 2005). In the rest of the world coal combustion emissions increased by 2%.

  • Global CO2 emissions from combustion of natural gas increased 2.5% (+130 megatonnes CO2), mainly due to increasing consumption in Russia and China.

  • Global CO2 emissions from combustion of oil products increased only 0.7% (+90 megatonnes CO2), mainly due to a decrease in consumption in OECD countries by 0.9% on average.

Methodology and data sources. MNP estimates are based on the most recent data on fossil fuel consumption from the BP Review of Energy 2007 (BP, 2007) and cement production data through 2006 published by the US Geological Survey (USGS). The CO2  estimates for 2005 and 2006 were compiled by MNP using the detailed national CO2 emission estimates for energy use through 2004 compiled by the International Energy Agency (IEA,2006) and its own estimates for CO2  emissions from cement clinker production.

The estimates of CO2  emissions do not include emissions from flaring and venting of associated gas during oil and gas production and CO2  emissions from deforestation/logging/decay of remaining biomass and are calculated using default CO2  emission factors recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). CO2  emissions from underground coal fires in China and elsewhere are not included either. The magnitude of these sources is very uncertain; according to recent research CO2  emissions from coal fires are estimated at 150-450 megatonnes CO2  annually in China.

The energy data annually published by BP appear to be reasonably accurate, according to MNP. Based on older BP energy data, the increase in 2004 in CO2  emissions was estimated at 4.9% globally. With presently available more detailed statistics of the International Energy Agency (IEA) for 2004 the increase is now estimated at 5.0%.



GAH! I knew they were gona pass us but I didnt expect them to rocket past like a speeding suv on fire!


here is a good reason, the best reason, why Kyoto is broken and needs to be re-thought. the threat of economic sanctions (taxes, tarrifs, slowing access to our consumerist/consumption markets) is the ONLY hammer we have with China, india and anyone else really. GLobal warming and C02 cannot be handled piecemeal. something like Kyoto will only succeed in transfering more poluting industries to china and india, more quickly.

We need a global solution and we need it yesterday. perhaps this will help get everyone on the right track. it is time to think local and act global.

And don't confuse this with support of American polution policies. it is not. it is shocking to see how much we americans ploute for such a small segment of the global population. and it is even more interesting when compared to European and Japanese C02 output.

Sid Hoffman

China has a totalitarian government that will never bow down to the demands of the world. They have always done their own thing and will continue to do so without regard for anyone else. It's the Chinese way.


Actually that's the American way, the Chinese have just adopted it as their own, much like the new auto-centric lifestyle. The state-capitalist fascist government is also borrowed from the United States, it's just hard to recognize without the usual propaganda and spin telling you it stands for liberty and freedom.



Look around at the few trolls on this site alone...you will find that, "They have always done their own thing and will continue to do so without regard for anyone else..." is quite applicable to a large segment of the US population as well.


I can see it now Bush is going to hold a press conference saying: “China is now the worlds #1 producers of Green House Gaseous, not us, so now it’s not our problem. If you want to complain about pollution and global warming just let THEM know, not us.”

Bob Bastard

I never knew the US had a "state-capitalist fascist government." You learn something new every day :)


Darn, if we could just ship all our manufacturing overseas, and tell all those foreign automobile manufactures that want to build factories here to go elsewhere, that would help solve our pollution problems.

It's ironic. When we do better, we're still bad.

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