SERIOUS MONDAY: NEW FEARS OVER CHINA’S CO2 POLLUTION

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Experts fear that C02 produced by China could quickly wipe out savings in greenhouse gas emissions agreed under the Kyoto protocol.

Under the protocol, developed countries have pledged to reduce C02 emissions by a massive 116 million metric tons between now and 2012.

But researchers in the USA say they fear that China is producing far more carbon dioxide than previously thought and this could radically undermine global aims to stabilize greenhouse gases.

China has been ranked as the globe’s second-largest emitter of CO2 but some recent studies suggest that it might now hold the top spot, having overtaken the United States last year.

And university researchers in California have predicted that China’s CO2 emissions will grow by at least 11% per year until 2010.

They believe that by then, China’s emissions will have increased by 600 million tonnes – making the 116 m tonnes saving proposed under Kyoto look pretty small.

A professor at UC Berkeley involved in the study, says:  “It had been expected that the efficiency of China’s power generation would continue to improve as per-capita income increased, slowing down the rate of CO2 emissions growth.

“But what we’re finding is that the emissions growth rate is surpassing our worst expectations, and that means the goal of stabilizing atmospheric CO2 is going to be much, much harder to achieve.”

According to their report, part of the problem involves the decision to give Chinese provinces more say in building power plants in 2000.

While wealthier coastal provinces have gone for the best technology, many poorer provinces have copied inefficient 1950s Russian technology. Once built, these power stations are expected to have a lifetime of at least 40 years.

Susan

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