Berkeley - The growth in China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is far outpacing previous estimates, making the goal of stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gases even more difficult, according to a new analysis by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, and UC San Diego.
Previous estimates, including those used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, say the region that includes China will see a 2.5 to 5 percent annual increase in CO2 emissions, the largest contributor to atmospheric greenhouse gases, between 2004 and 2010. The new UC analysis puts that annual growth rate for China to at least 11 percent for the same time period.
The study is scheduled for print publication in the May issue of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, but is now online.
The researchers' most conservative forecast predicts that by 2010, there will be an increase of 600 million metric tons of carbon emissions in China over the country's levels in 2000. This growth from China alone would dramatically overshadow the 116 million metric tons of carbon emissions reductions pledged by all the developed countries in the Kyoto Protocol. (The protocol was never ratified in the United States, which was the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide until 2006, when China took over that distinction, according to numerous reports.)
Put another way, the projected annual increase in China alone over the next several years is greater than the current emissions produced by either Great Britain or Germany.
Based upon these findings, the authors say current global warming forecasts are "overly optimistic," and that action is urgently needed to curb greenhouse gas production in China and other rapidly industrializing countries.
The authors of the study, Maximillian Auffhammer, UC Berkeley assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics, and Richard Carson, UC San Diego professor of economics, based th
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University of California - Berkeley