Azara Blog: China is now allegedly the world's biggest emitter of carbon

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Date published: 2007/06/20

The BBC says:

China is now building about two power stations every week, the top climate change official at the UK Foreign Office, John Ashton, has said.

He said there was no point blaming China for rising global CO2 emissions.

Rich nations had to set an example of low-carbon development for China to follow, Mr Ashton told the BBC.

His statement came as a new report suggested that China may have already become the world's biggest polluter - much earlier than expected.

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency said China's CO2 emissions had risen by 9% last year, compared with 1.4% in the US.
"Responsibility for China's soaring emissions lies not just in Beijing but also in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo," said Greenpeace UK director John Sauven.

"All we've done is export a great slice of the West's carbon footprint to China, and today we see the result.

"Let us not forget that the average Chinese emits just 3.5 tonnes of CO2 per year, whereas Britons emit nearly 10 tonnes and Americans 20 tonnes.

For once Greenpeace has the story just about right. The West has exported carbon emissions to China. The way emissions are calculated by the Kyoto Treaty, for example, is bogus, because it ignores imports and exports. On the other hand, just looking at per capita emissions as the perpetual basis for equity is not very equitable. The per capita calculation implies that any country that expands its population is given an overall increased quota. So any country that breeds irresponsibly is rewarded, and the others would have to decrease their per capita emissions, to balance out the increase, even though these countries have meanwhile done nothing different. This is not equitable. The so-called environmentalists always ignore the population issue because it doesn't fit in well with their propaganda (and they breed, often irresponsibly, just like everybody else).

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