Indian, Chinese power plants speeding global warming: expert

February 15th, 2009 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 15 (IANS) An upsurge in coal-based power generation in India and China is likely to speed up global warming and cause more environmental damage than previously feared, a leading expert has warned.

Chris Field of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and melt the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

“There is a real risk that human-caused climate change will accelerate the release of carbon dioxide from forest and tundra ecosystems, which have been storing a lot of carbon for thousands of years,” Field said.

“We don’t want to cross a critical threshold where this massive release of carbon starts to run on autopilot,” Field, of Stanford University, said Saturday, ahead of the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago, where he is to present his findings.

He added: “We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge upsurge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal.”

The expert warned that the trend is likely to continue if more developing countries turn to coal and other carbon-intensive fuels to meet their energy needs.

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