China Surpasses US As Top CO2 Emitter

If Emissions Must Be Cut, Developing Countries Need To Participate, Say NCPA Experts


DALLAS (June 21, 2007) - China is now the world leader in carbon dioxide emissions, news that reinforces the need for the developing countries to be included in plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to an expert with the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). 

"If human greenhouse gas emissions are indeed responsible for some or most of the present warming, then any plan to reduce those emissions has to include China and other developing countries," said NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett.  "Otherwise, any proposed plan is nice rhetoric, but isn't worth the paper it's written on."

According to a study released this week by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency:

  • China produced 6,200 million tons of CO2;
  • The U.S. produced 5,800 million tons of CO2, and
  • Britain produced 600 million tons of CO2

"The Senate started down the right path with the Byrd-Hagel Resolution in 1997," said Burnett. "They seemed to recognize the need for meaningful participation from developing countries like China and India. Unfortunately, many of those same Senators are now calling for economically harmful caps on greenhouse gas emissions despite the fact that they would do nothing for the environment.

"China wasn't supposed to overtake the U.S. in emissions for another few years yet," said Burnett. "This study shows we need to stop navel-gazing and start working for meaningful change, by creating workable solutions that develop new, cleaner technologies and get them into developing countries quickly where they will deliver the lowest cost emission reductions."