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Climate finger pointing - Nov 17

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Australians named as world's worst polluters

John Vidal, Guardian
Americans in second place and Britons come ninth
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Australians are the world's worst individual greenhouse gas polluters if emissions are calculated from the output of the country's power stations, according to new analysis.

Each Australian produces nearly 11 tonnes of CO2 power sector emissions, the United States follows on nine tonnes per person, while Britain is ranked ninth at 3.5 tonnes and China - heavily criticised by the international community for its rapid development of coal-fired power stations - produces only two tonnes a year per person. Indians emit about half a tonne of CO2 per person.

The data was compiled by the Centre for Global Development, a Washington-based thinktank. It found that the US had nearly one in six of the world's power stations, and emitted nearly 25% of the world's total CO2 emissions.

The analysis is embarrassing for the Australian government, which is fighting a general election on November 24. Climate change has been high on the election agenda after the conservative prime minister, John Howard, behind in the polls, consistently refused to sign the Kyoto climate pact. He has argued it would harm Australia's economy, which relies for most of its power on old coal-fired stations.

One surprise in the data, said the report, was that the world's biggest emitters of CO2 in absolute terms are no longer in the rich world but in rapidly emerging economies with enormous coal-fired plants. Five of the world's most polluting companies are in China and three in the US.
(16 November 2007)


US Power Company Linked to Bush Is Named in Database As a Top Polluter

Leonard Doyle, The Independent/UK
An American power company with close financial links to President George Bush has been named as one of the world’s top producers of global warming pollution.1116 02

The first-ever worldwide database of such pollution also reveals the rapid growth in global-warming emissions by power plants in China, South Africa and India. Power plants already produce 40 per cent of US greenhouse gas and 25 per cent of the world’s.

But it is the enormous carbon footprint of Southern Company - among the largest financiers of Republican Party politicians - which has raised eyebrows. Southern’s employees handed George Bush $217,047 to help him get elected, and they and the company have contributed an extraordinary $6.2m to Republican campaigns since 1990.

A single Southern Company plant in Juliette, Georgia already emits more carbon dioxide annually that Brazil’s entire power sector. The company is in the top two of America’s dirtiest utility polluters and sixth worst in the world.

Apart from vague promises by the Democratic presidential hopefuls, there is no pressure on this or any other power company to clean up their act and cut back on CO2 emissions.
(16 November 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.


World's Power Plant Emissions Detailed

Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post
U.S. Appears to Be Worst Carbon Dioxide Polluter, but China Is Catching Up Fast
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China, South Africa and India host the world's five dirtiest utility companies in terms of global warming pollution, according to the first-ever worldwide database of power plants' carbon dioxide emissions, while a single Southern Co. plant in Juliette, Ga., emits more annually than Brazil's entire power sector.

The analysis, released yesterday by the Washington-based think tank Center for Global Development, a nonprofit that focuses on how the actions of rich countries affect developing nations, provides a detailed inventory of power plants' greenhouse gas emissions by countries and regions within countries. The database shows the United States as the world's biggest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter and how quickly it will be outpaced by rapidly-industrializing nations.

While the United States still produces the most carbon dioxide from electricity generation, releasing 2.8 billion tons of CO2each year, China is close to overtaking it, with its 2.7 billion tons. Moreover, China plans to build or expand 199 coal-fired facilities in the next decade, compared with the United States' 83.

Power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 25 percent of the world's.
(15 November 2007)


Dire climate warning linked to China and India

Elisabeth Rosenthal, International Herald Tribune
The average global temperature will rise to a devastating level by 2030 if China and India do not begin curbing energy use and carbon emissions immediately, officials of the International Energy Agency predicted Wednesday.

Speaking at the World Energy Congress, the officials noted that 60 percent of the global increase in emissions from 2005 to 2030 would come from India and China. By next year, China will overtake the United States as the leader in carbon emissions, the agency predicts; some studies suggest that this has already occurred.

Citing a World Energy Outlook from the agency last week, the officials said that if current development trends continued unchanged, total carbon emissions would rise by 57 percent by 2030, leading to a global temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius, or 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit, by 2030.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations entity that presents its final report in Valencia, Spain, on Saturday, has estimated that global emissions would cause a warming of 1.8 to 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Many scientists say 2 degrees is the threshold beyond which there would be significant social and economic disruption.
(14 November 2007)


Made for the USA?
On who is accountable for Chinese greenhouse-gas emissions

Kit Stolz, Gristmill
Yesterday a D.C. nonprofit, the Center for Global Development, released an inventory of the world's power plants. Its nifty database shows that on a national level, China trails only the the U.S. in total emissions of greenhouse gases, and not by much.

This will disappoint the global warming proponents at the National Review, who have been predicting for months that China will surpass the traditional emissions champ -- the United States -- this year.

But both the scoffers on the right and the worriers on the left may be overlooking a central question, which was broached this Monday in a news story from The Wall Street Journal.

Simply put: a high percentage of Chinese emissions are produced in factories making products for buyers around the world. Shouldn't that be considered in the emissions accounting?
(16 November 2007)
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