Ad# 113
Ad# 97
Ad# 203
Ad# 28
Ad# 108

Waste and Emissions»Global carbon emissions steady for first time since 1992

»Friday, July 2,2010

Greenhouse gas emissions from rich countries fell a record 7% in 2009 because of the recession, but the cut was entirely nullified by steep increases from fast-growing China and India, according to one of Europe's leading scientific research groups.

Overall, this meant annual global climate emissions remained steady for the first time since 1992, says the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency which drew on energy-use data from the US government, the EU, BP energy data, the cement industry, and elsewhere.

But the Dutch government-funded agency, which in 2007 was the first to correctly identify that China had overtaken the US as the world's greatest greenhouse gas polluter, warned that the figures did not mean that rich countries had cleaned up their act.

"A large part of production capacity has been suspended, but this could be re-employed as soon as the economy improves. It is likely that a recovering economy would cause emission levels in industrialised countries to go up. Nevertheless, the economic downturn has meant that these countries can meet their reduction obligations with more ease," said NEAA spokeswoman Anneke Oosterhuis.

"Another consequence of this downturn is that some industrialised countries may need to purchase fewer emission rights from reduction projects in developing countries, which, in turn, means that there will be less money available for emission reductions in those developing countries," said Oosterhuis.

The figures will come as a relief to the world's rich countries which – the US aside – are legally committed to reducing emissions by a collective 5.2% on 1990 figures by 2012. As it stands, says the Dutch agency, they are now 10% below 1990 levels, well below the Kyoto target level.

The research also shows that China and India's average CO2 emissions per inhabitant are still well below those in industrialised countries. In India the emissions are now 1.4 tonnes per person and in China 6 tonnes, compared with 10 tonnes per person in the Netherlands and 17 tonnes in the United States.

China's 9% growth in emissions came despite its doubling of wind and solar energy capacity for the fifth year in a row.

The report highlights the rapid growth in global emissions in the past 40 years. They are now 25% higher than in 2000, almost 40% more than in 1990, and double 1970's figure of 15.5bn tonnes. The big growth in Chinese and Indian emissions has been relatively recent. China has doubled its emissions in nine years, and India's have risen by 50% in that time.

But the recession has not hit all industrial countries uniformly. Russia (-11%) and Japan (-9%) have contracted their energy use the most, but the US – which is by far the most profligate power user in the world – reduced its emissions by nearly 500m tonnes in 2009. Other developing countries changed little in 2009. Emissions rose in Iran, Indonesia and South Korea but fell in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Taiwan.

2009 was a good year for renewable energy. Global wind power capacity grew by nearly one third, with nearly one third of all new installations in China. Total solar electricity installed in 2009 was 46% up on 2008. China now leads the world in large-scale hydropower with 19% of global production, well ahead of Brazil and the USA with a 12% share each.

The new figures supplement those of the International energy agency (IEA) which predicted in November 2009 that global CO2 emissions would decrease by 2.6% in 2009. At that stage it was unclear how China and India would ride out the recession.




More Top Stories