Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

China overtakes the US as the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter

China overtakes the US as the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter

Charlotte Reid writes how the world’s output of greenhouse gases is at its highest level ever, as China overtakes the US to become the world’s worst polluter.

The world’s output of greenhouse gases has soared to its highest level, reaching 33.51 billion tonnes – a 6% increase since 2009.

The global rise has largely been put down to the increased emissions from China, now the world’s largest fossil-fuel emitter. China accounts for 24.3% of global emissions, over-taking the previous title-holders, America.

The US is now in second place, as it gives out 16.4% of the world’s emissions, and India is third, contributing 6.2%.

However, taking population into account, China and India are far behind the US, based upon per capita emissions.

The research into the levels of carbon dioxide emissions globally was released by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). They say that 2010 was “by far a record year” for carbon dioxide emissions that come from fossil fuel combustion and cement manufacture.

Even the UK’s contribution towards the greenhouse gas figures was higher, with 491.7 million tonnes emitted in 2010 – an increase from 473.7 million tonnes in 2009.

At the same time, Pricewaterhouse Coopers have revealed that greenhouse gas emissions have risen more than economic growth in 2011.

In the report, Counting the cost of carbon, Leo Johnson, a partner in Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ sustainability and climate change team, says, “The economic recovery, where it has occurred, has been dirty.

Even where there has been growth in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries during the global financial crisis, it has not been decoupled from carbon.

“The rapid growth of high carbon intensive emerging economies in this period has also pushed up the average carbon intensity of the global economy.”

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