Asian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Growing Rapidly

Published September 1, 2009

Already responsible for one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, China, India, and other Asian nations are on pace to generate more than 40 percent of the world’s emissions by 2030, according to data released at a climate change conference in Manila, Philippines.

Explosive Emissions Growth

Asia’s share of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from energy use has tripled over the past 30 years, Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda told conference attendees in June.

As developing Asian nations strive to join the ranks of richer, industrialized countries, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects China and India will account for 34 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2030, with China alone accounting for 29 percent of the world’s total.

China will generate 74 percent of the total increase in the world’s coal-related carbon dioxide emissions between 2006 and 2030.

Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, notes in 2006 China became the world’s single largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

“Its growth in emissions has been multiples faster than that of the United States, and the rest of the world’s emissions have also been on the rise,” Lieberman said.

“Thus, even assuming the worst of global warming from manmade carbon dioxide emissions, unilateral measures like Waxman-Markey will accomplish next to nothing for all their damage to the American economy,” Lieberman explained.

U.S. Cuts Irrelevant

Following a recent visit to Beijing by U.S. climate change envoy Todd Stern, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang indicated his country has no plans to curb emissions in the near future, regardless of whether the United States does so.

“China is still a developing country, and the present task confronting China is to develop its economy and alleviate poverty, as well as raise the living standard of its people,” Gang told reporters. “Given that, it is natural for China to have some increase in its emissions, so it is not possible for China in that context to accept a binding or compulsory target.”

Max Schulz, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, observes China and India have both publicly stated they have no plans to slow their growth.

“The steep growth in emissions by developing Asian countries, combined with clear statements that these nations have no plans to curtail their emissions, further highlights the futility of the United States’ plans to make drastic cuts in emissions,” said Schulz.

Drew Thornley ([email protected]) writes from Texas.