India to be third largest emitter of greenhouse gases by year-end

September 25th, 2008 - 4:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 25 (IANS) Global yearly carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and manufacturing cement have shot up to 8.5 billion tonnes by 2007, from 6.1 billion tonnes in 1992. But the source of emissions has shifted dramatically to developing countries like China and India, according to the US Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL).

“The most recent estimates suggest that India passed Japan in 2002, China became the largest emitter in 2006, and India is poised to pass Russia to become the third largest emitter, probably this year,” said Gregg Marland of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division.

“The US was the largest emitter of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in 1992, followed in order by China, Russia, Japan and India,” he added.

The latest estimates of annual emissions indicate that they are continuing to grow rapidly and that the pattern of emissions has changed markedly since the drafting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992. It was then that the international community expressed concern about limiting emissions of greenhouse gases.

In the Kyoto Protocol, 38 developed countries initially agreed to limit their emissions of greenhouse gases in an effort to minimize their potential impact on the earth’s climate system, according to ORNL press release.

At the time of drafting the United Nations Convention, those 38 countries were responsible for 62 percent of carbon dioxide emissions attributable to all countries. By the time the Kyoto Protocol was drafted in 1997 that fraction was down to 57 percent.

The recent emissions estimates show that by the time the Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005 those 38 countries were the source of less than half of the national total of emissions (an estimated 49.7 percent), and this value as of 2007 was 47 percent.

More than half of global emissions are now from the so-called “developing countries”. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 181 countries, but not by the United States.

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