Chinese power-sector emissions to top US

Power plants in China will produce about 3.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide this year, surpassing the total emissions of the United States electric power industry for the first time, according to a report by the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think-tank.

The estimate, gathered from a variety of public data, shows that while China and India are becoming more efficient in energy use, their rapid pace of economic growth would mean a doubling of their carbon emissions from power plants over the next 12 years.

"We see some marginal signs of improvement in carbon intensity, particularly in some of the major developing countries," the Washington Post reported Kevin Ummel, a researcher at the Center for Global Development, as saying. "But even with that slight silver lining, aggregate emissions — the only measure that matters to the atmosphere — continue to race upward."

According to the report, Chinese power plants will produce about 3.1 billion tonnes of CO2 this year, up from about 2.3 billion tonnes in 2007. US power plants are expected to produce about 2.8 billion tons of CO2 this year, about the same as last year.

China relies on coal for about three-quarters of its energy consumption.

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