Street-level smog in Beijing
A new report released by international organization, Geophysical Research Letters, has revealed that despite growing environmental concerns in recent times, China's output of carbon emissions has shot up by a whopping 80% in a period of just three years between 2002 and 2005.
According to recent statistics compiled by the U.S. government's 'Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center', China and the U.S. both output a similar amount of carbon dioxide and together the two countries account for almost half of all world carbon dioxide output.
China's rapidly increasing population growth, economic growth and subsequent increase in production, exports and consumption has increased carbon emissions dramatically, and the paper's authors write that China's energy hungry populace is demanding more and more electricity while new, efficient technologies struggle to play catch-up with the demands.
However, while China's total national output may exceed that of the U.S., much of this is to blame on its large population. While the U.S. sits in the list of top 10 countries with the most emissions per capita, China is found much further down the list at 91st, behind countries such as Barbados and Jamaica. While the report finds that the nation as a whole is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter, when examined on an individual level the average person in China emits just 15% of what the average person in the U.S. would emit.
Reducing carbon emissions for China, then, still remains important but it will only be after greater reduction in developed countries such as the U.S. that will truly encourage developing countries such as China to seriously reduce their emissions; developing countries often hold the view that the developed countries were allowed to run rampant with their carbon emissions when they were growing during the 19th and 20th centuries, and now that it is the developing world's turn to experience similar growth it is being unfairly hindered.
Meanwhile, recent reforms in the European Union calling for the reduction of carbon emissions by almost 20% in the next six years are just the first step in reducing total world carbon emissions, and increased world co-operation on a unifying issue such as improving the environment, as well as individual national action in this area, should hopefully see a slowdown of world emissions in the near future.