For the first time, China produced more carbon pollution per person than the European Union last year, pushing greenhouse gas emissions to record levels.
Each person in China produced 7.2 tons of carbon dioxide on average, compared with 6.8 tons in Europe, 16.4 tons in the United States and 1.9 tons in India, Bloomberg News reported, citing a study by the Tyndall Center and the University of Exeter’s College of Mathematics and Physical Sciences.
The scientists estimate that humans already have emitted into the atmosphere two-thirds of the fossil-fuel emissions allowable under scenarios that avoid irreversible changes to the planet. If pollution continues at the current rate, the limit for carbon will be reached in 30 years, they said.
“We are nowhere near the commitments needed to stay below 2 degrees Celsius of climate change, a level that will be hard to reach for any country, including rich nations,” said Corinne Le Quere, co-author of the report and a director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, England.
“CO2 growth now is much faster than it was in the 1990s, and we’re not delivering the improvements in carbon intensity we anticipated 10 years ago.”
The researchers projected global emissions will rise 2.5 percent next year, driving total carbon pollution to a record 40 billion tons, the report said.
“It is unfair to blame China just based on its carbon emissions,” Dai Xingyi, a professor at the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Fudan University in Shanghai, was quoted as saying. “Because China has a huge population that has been dependent on coal for a long time, it will not quit using coal in the foreseeable future.”
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