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China tops USA's CO2 emissions; By Bill Jones.

China is now the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), surpassing America for the first time, according to new research yesterday.

Emissions from the Far East country, which is building around two power stations a month, passed those of the US by eight per cent in 2006, preliminary estimates by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency stated.

Greenpeace UK said responsibility for the country's soaring emissions lay not just in Beijing but also in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo as the West had moved its manufacturing base to China.

John Ashton, a leading climate change official from the Foreign Office, said developed nations needed to convince the Far East country that it did not have to make a choice between "prosperity and protecting the climate".

Mr Ashton, speaking following a recent trip to China, said: "We need to convince China that they don't have to make a choice between prosperity and protecting the climate. We need to help them towards a low-carbon future.

"There is also a moral case. Most of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been put there by developing countries without the constraint of having to worry about the climate.

That means we should bear the leading edge of responsibility."

Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency stated that last year the total of China's CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased by nine per cent. In the US its emissions decreased by 1.4 per cent last year, compared with 2005.

Greenpeace UK director John Sauven said: "All we've done is export a great slice of the west's carbon footprint to China, and today we see the result.

"Let us not forget that the average Chinese emits just 3.5 tonnes of CO2 per year, whereas Britons emit nearly 10 tonnes and Americans 20 tonnes."

He added: "The West moved its manufacturing base to China knowing it was vastly more polluting than Japan, Europe or the US.

"No environmental conditions were attached to this move, in fact the only thing manufacturers were interested in was the price of labour.

This trend kept the price of our products down but at the cost of soaring greenhouse gas emissions. Long term this policy has been a climate disaster."

Environment Secretary David Miliband yesterday launched a new website offering the public a personal "carbon footprint" calculation.

Asked during a GMTV interview if China were the biggest polluters, Mr Miliband said the US was the biggest polluter and it was "absolutely essential" to get them "on board."

Asked if the US was "on board" yet he said: "Yes and no. Some parts of America - California, Governor Schwarzenegger, north-east states - they are doing it, the federal administration is not."

He added: "Some Americans are doing it, others aren't. I think there is a growing sense in America that they have got to change their ways. But we are not there yet. I think it is when, not if."

Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said: China's rocketing carbon dioxide emissions are a cause for global concern.

"But this must not be an excuse for inaction in other countries. The UK and the rest of the developed world have a crucial leadership role to play in cutting their pollution and setting an example for developing countries to follow."

"All we've done is export a great slice of the west's carbon footprint to China

John Sauven


Shanghai bristles with high rise buildings. The city is widely regarded as the citadel of China's modern economy
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 21, 2007
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