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article imageDutch Report Says China is World's Top Carbon Polluter

By Saikat Basu     Jun 16, 2008 in Environment
A Dutch environmental assessment report indicates China as the worst carbon polluter on the planet. The time to take action seems to be now.
Polluter! Sounds quite damning. And if a Dutch report is to be believed China has now emerged as the world's top carbon emitter.
Authoritarian China is a wall in itself with hardly any negative press escaping out. But the latest report, from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) is quite strident in its findings. Now, these findings may or may not pressurize China to take some decisive steps to rein in carbon dioxide pollution, the world's chief greenhouse gas.
The report highlights the fact that China's CO2 emissions raced 14 percent ahead of the total emitted by the United States last year. Is the Chinese government worried? As Greenpeace China's Beijing-based climate and energy campaign manager Ailun Yang said,
" No matter how many of these kinds of reports are released; you still need the confirmation from China to really confirm the story."
Their hasn't been any reaction from China so far, which is indicative of its reluctance.
The fast growing economies of the east are climbing up the polluting scale as fast as they are clambering on the economic one. India, another Asian giant is ranked third in the report with a contribution of eight percent to the total carbon output. The rankings are a cause of debate just before an important G-8 summit to take place in Japan on this very issue.
But are the top rankers really the chief culprits in this new game of global environmental sweepstakes. Some thinkers have cautioned against taking the findings at their face value. Gavin Edwards, head of Greenpeace International's climate campaign says,
" We live in a globalized world with global trade. Take any random major corporation which has large outlets in the West, you'll find large manufacturing bases in places like China. So it's very hard to decide who those emissions belong to."
China maybe responsible for nearly two-thirds of the 3.1 rise in carbon emissions last year. But on the scale of per capita their is a wide disparity in figures between the U.S (at 19.4 tonnes per person) and China (5.1 tonnes per person). Per capita, the U.S clearly emerges the leader of the pack. Factor in China's and India's billion plus populations and the picture becomes very different.
So are the figures misleading? PBL's senior scientist Jos Olivier said that to get a proper picture it is also important to make an objective assessment on the GDP (income) per capita and emissions per capita where country's like China and India lag behind the 'older' west.
Yes, the developed countries are equally to blame for the past...but the developing ones are now responsible for the future. And it's time to take action for all.
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