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China India Lead 15-Percent Rise In CO2 Emissions

China, which is already the second largest polluter behind the United States, increased its emissions by 33 percent between 1992 and 2002. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) May 10, 2006
Fast-growing China and India helped to drive up global greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent over 1992-2002, fuelling the effects of climate change, the World Bank said Tuesday. In its annual "Little Green Data Book", the World Bank said industrialised nations led by the United States continue to be the worst offenders for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).

But developing nations, particularly China and India, are producing an ever-greater share of CO2 emissions and so contributing to the trapping of heat-retaining gases in the Earth's atmosphere.

"This reality shows us that we need to find creative ways to engage all major economies of the world to solve a global problem such as climate change," said acting World Bank vice-president Steen Jorgensen.

The report, which was launched at a meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, said CO2 emissions worldwide topped 24 billion tonnes in 2002, the last year for which comprehensive data are available.

That is an increase of 15 percent compared to the levels in 1992.

The United States contributed 24 percent of total emissions and the 12 nations of Europe's eurozone emitted 10 percent.

From 2000 to 2002, global CO2 emissions increased by 2.5 percent annually, and about two-thirds of that increase came from low- and middle-income countries.

China, which is already the second largest polluter behind the United States, increased its emissions by 33 percent between 1992 and 2002. India's emissions grew 57 percent in the same period.

"This trend will likely continue as economic activity grows," the World Bank report warned.

The "Little Green Data Book" could intensify debate about how to bring developing nations on board efforts to combat global climate change, which is blamed on rising emissions of CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases.

With data for 48 indicators in 222 countries, territories and regions, the World Bank study is one of the most comprehensive to look at environmental change.

The United States has refused to back the 1997 Kyoto agreement, the first major attempt to tackle the problem, and argues that any new initiatives will be pointless without the involvement of nations like China.

"All countries are vulnerable to climate change," said Warren Evans, the World Bank's environment director.

"But the poorest countries are the most exposed and have the least means to adapt to it. Climate change may hamper efforts to reduce poverty in agriculture-dependent countries in Africa and low-lying coastal areas.

"Climate-proofing development initiatives is an urgent need in order to avoid human disasters," he said.

According to the World Bank, 300 billion dollars will have to be invested annually to meet the energy needs of developing countries through more efficient and cleaner sources.

At its annual meeting, the UN commission noted that energy use was expected to jump by 50 percent over the next 25 years, with two-thirds of that hike expected in the developing world.

Currently 1.6 billion people still do not have access to electricity and 2.4 billion people -- more than a third of the world's total -- still cook and heat with traditional fuels such as firewood or dung.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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