U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
China Now Leads in Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Says Report
June 27, 2007
Here's one area where the United States is happy to come in second
place: in carbon dioxide emissions. According to a new analysis by the
Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, China surpassed the
United States in total carbon dioxide emissions in 2006. While China's
emissions were about 2% below the U.S. emissions in 2005, the U.S.
emissions decreased slightly in 2006, while China's emissions
increased by 8.7%, making them 8% greater than the U.S. emissions.
According to the report, China produces about 44% of the world's
cement, and the high energy use of this industry is a key factor in
the country's high carbon dioxide emissions. See the agency's
The Dutch agency later tried to place these figures in perspective,
noting that on a per capita basis, the United States still produces
roughly four times as much carbon dioxide as China, at about 20 tons
per person. The agency also noted that a substantial part of China's
emissions are due to its production of goods for export to
industrialized countries. Current greenhouse gas agreements, such as
the Kyoto Protocol, do not address which country is ultimately
responsible for the emissions generated in one country while
manufacturing a product for use in another country. See the agency's
follow-up press release.