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China biggest carbon polluter, world levels at record: scientists

China has leapfrogged the United States as the world's biggest carbon emitter and India is heading for third place, scientists said on Friday in a report that warned global greenhouse-gas levels were scaling record peaks.

The report, by a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project (GCP GCP Good Clinical Practice
GCP Ground Control Point
GCP Global Carbon Project
GCP Gateway Control Protocol
GCP Global Consciousness Project
GCP Granulocyte Chemotactic Protein
GCP Grand Central Parkway (New York) 
), confirms an estimate that China has become the biggest producer of carbon dioxide carbon dioxide, chemical compound, CO2, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is about one and one-half times as dense as air under ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure.  (CO2), the principal gas that causes global warming.

Until 2005, rich countries emitted most of the world's man-made CO2. Today, developing countries now account for 53 percent of the total, the GCP said.

"The biggest increase in emissions has been taking place in developing countries, largely in China and India, while developed countries have been growing slowly," it said.

"The largest regional shift was that China passed the US in 2006 to become the latest CO2 emitter, and India will soon overtake Russia to become the third largest emitter."

The GCP said CO2 emissions last year were the equivalent to almost 10 billion tonnes of carbon. Fossil fuels accounted for 8.5 billion tonnes and changes to land use, mainly through deforestation deforestation

Process of clearing forests. Rates of deforestation are particularly high in the tropics, where the poor quality of the soil has led to the practice of routine clear-cutting to make new soil available for agricultural use.
, accounted for the rest.

Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 surged 2.2 parts per million parts per million

mg/kg or ml/l; see ppm.
 (ppm) in 2007 to reach 383 ppm. The rise was 1.8 ppm in 2006.

At 383 ppm, CO2 levels are 37 percent above the benchmark of 1750 when the start of the Industrial Revolution unleashed voracious use of coal, oil and gas, it said.

"The present concentration is the highest during the last 650,000 years and probably during the last 20 million years," the report said.

It warned: "All of these changes characterise a carbon cycle that is generating stronger climate forcing, and sooner than expected."

The document, to be unveiled simultaneously at conferences in Paris and Washington on Friday, also made these points:

-- Emissions have risen starkly since the Millennium. From 2000-2007, the average annual hike has been 2.0 ppm. This compares with 1.3 ppm per year in the 1970s, 1.6 ppm in the 1980s and 1.5 ppm in the 1990s.

-- Fossil-fuel emissions this decade are running at four times those of the 1990s.

-- Tropical deforestation amounted to 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon last year, with Latin America and Asia each accounting for 600 million tonnes and Africa 300 million.

-- Natural "sinks" -- the ocean, forests and other land -- are "a huge subsidy" to the global economy, worth 500 billion dollars annually for soaking up more than half of the CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and increase the greenhouse effect.

But these "sinks" are in a bad way. Their efficiency has fallen by five percent over the past 50 years "and will continue to do so in the future."

The GCP report, Carbon Budget 2007, is authored by eight scientists in a project sponsored by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) is a research programme that studies the phenomenon of global change.

The International Council of Scientific Unions, a coordinating body of national science organizations, launched IGBP in 1986.
 (IGBP IGBP International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
IGBP Indo-German Bilateral Project
IGBP Interdisciplinary Society of Biological Psychiatry
IgBP Immunoglobulin-Binding Protein
), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Research (IHDP IHDP International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change
IHDP Infant Health and Development Program
) and the World Climate Research Program.

It is based on UN data, statistical models and climate research published in major peer-reviewed journals and on energy data collected by the oil giant BP.

"Our numbers provide a reality check," said Corinne Le Quere, from the British Antarctic Survey Based in Cambridge, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is the United Kingdom's national Antarctic operator and has an active role in Antarctic affairs. BAS is part of the Natural Environment Research Council and has over 450 staff.  (BAS BAS
abbr.
1. Bachelor of Agricultural Science

2. Bachelor of Applied Science
) and the University of East Anglia “UEA” redirects here. For other uses, see UEA (disambiguation).
Academically, it is one of the most successful universities founded in the 1960s, consistently ranking amongst Britain's top higher education institutions; 19th in the Sunday Times University League Table 2006
 in Eastern England.

"The scale of efforts (to tackle emissions) is not enough."

In 2007, China emitted 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon from fossil fuels, compared with 1.59 billion by the United States. Russia was third, with 432 million tonnes, followed by India, with 430 million.

In November 2006, the International Energy Agency (IEA IEA International Energy Agency
IEA International Environmental Agreements
IEA International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement
IEA Institute of Economic Affairs
IEA Inferred from Electronic Annotation
IEA International Ergonomics Association
) predicted that China would overtake the United States as No. 1 carbon polluter by 2010.

But in June 2007, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Dutch: Milieu en Natuur Planbureau) is a Dutch research institute that advises the Dutch government on environmental policy issues.  said China had already become the biggest emitter the previous year, thanks to soaring demand for coal and a surge in cement production.

Analysts say the question of top polluter is politically charged. It touches on a nerve point at UN talks for a new global deal to address climate change.

The United States has led the charge for China and India to sign up to tougher curbs on heat-trapping gases, arguing that a pact would be worthless without constraints by the big emitters of the future.
Copyright 2008 AFP Global Edition
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Sep 26, 2008
Words:703
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