Thursday, June 14, 2012

China emitting more than thought

A team of researchers took the Chinese national data on greenhouse emissions and compared it to a total emission calculation from all of the Chinese provinces. The results were interesting and showed there is a discrepancy of about 1.4 billion tons between the two. The national data appears to be too small, so that is a discrepancy in the bad direction.

The researchers found that, according to Chinese national statistics, on average, CO2 emissions have been growing 7.5 percent annually from 1997 to 7.69 billion tonnes in 2010. At the same time, though, the total emissions of all Chinese provinces have increased 8.5 percent on average to 9.08 billion tonnes in 2010. In comparison, U.S. emissions were 6.87 billion tonnes in 2010, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The extra amount of CO2 that China is putting into the air is roughly equivalent to what Japan emits every year.

This is very bad news and will certainly complicate things. This means climate change is happening faster than we thought because our calculations are based on the lower emission rate. And, all of our climate models have been receiving bad input data. This has an effect on the long range calculations, but not so much on the short term forecasts.

So, what this means is we have less time to fix things than we previously thought. Considering how reluctant we have been to address the problem so far, this does not look good for our future.

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