China dominates last year's global CO2 rise

Posted: 23 June 2008

With an 8 per cent national increase, China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions accounted for two thirds of last year's global carbon dioxide increase of 3.1 per cent, according to a preliminary estimate by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

China's CO2 emissions are now estimated to be about 14 per cent higher than those from the United States. With this, China tops the list of CO2 emitting countries, having about a quarter share in global CO2 emissions (24 per cent). It is followed by the US (21 per cent, the EU-15 (12 per cent), India (8 per cent) and the Russian Federation (6 per cent).

Together, they comprise 71 per cent of the total of global CO2 emissions. These figures are estimated by the Dutch agen, using recently published BP (British Petroleum) energy data and cement production data for 2007.

Emissions expressed per person show a largely different ranking. The top five CO2 emissions in metric tons per person are: US (19.4), Russia (11.8), EU-15 (8.6), China (5.1 ) and India (1.8).

Cement factor

Of all industrial processes, the cement clinker production process is the largest source of CO2, apart from fossil fuel use. It contributes around 5 per cent to the total of global CO2 emissions from fuel use and industrial activities. With a production increase of 10 per cent in 2007, China now has a share in global cement production of about 51 per cent.

Global fossil CO2 emissions from fuel and cement
Global fossil CO2 emissions from fuel and cement
Cement manufacturing is responsible for almost 20 per cent of the total of China's CO2 emissions, including those from fuel combustion for heating the kilns. After the earthquake which recently hit the Sichuan province, it may be expected that the rebuilding of houses and roads for over 5 million people will cause the cement demand to soar even further.

Weather conditions and high fuel prices affect global energy consumption. High oil prices of recent years have had their impact on oil consumption, causing that of the OECD countries to fall by 0.9 per cent in 2007. In Europe, a relatively warm winter and high fuel prices have had a mitigating effect on CO2 emissions, which decreased by about 2 per cent last year. In 2006, CO2 emissions from the EU-15 remained constant, which was confirmed in a recent report by the EEA, which compiled data from the 15 original Member States.

In the United States, relatively cold winter and warm summer temperatures in 2007, combined with a decline in non-fossil-fuelled electricity generation, resulted in increases in CO2 emissions from space heating and cooling. Overall, in the US in 2007, CO2 emissions increased by 1.8 per cent, compared to 2006.

Source: The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. 13 June, 2008.

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For full details of the confirmed global emissions in 2006 see:Carbon emissions acceleratingf rapidly