Chinese per capita emissions of CO2 now stand at 7.2 tonnes, only just under the EU level of 7.5 tonnes, according to the latest figures from the European Commission.
The report by the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) reveals that overall global CO2 emission rose by 3% in 2011 to reach a new record level of 34 billion tonnes.
While emissions from the EU are falling, down 3% in 2011, and 2% lower in the US and Japan, according to the annual report Trends in global CO2 emissions, China’s emissions have grown over the same period by 9%.
China remains the largest emitter, accounting for 29% of global emissions, followed by the US (16%), the EU (11%), India (6%), Russia (5%) and Japan (4%).
OECD countries now account for one-third of global emissions, while China and India between them are responsible for another third.
But in a tiny chink of good news, growth in renewable is accelerating. While it took solar, wind and biofuels 12 years from 1992 to double their share of global energy production from 0.5% to 1%, it only took six years to double again to 2.1% in 2011.
Global renewable generation is now saving some 800 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, equivalent to the total output from Germany.
The EC report says it is still possible to limit global temperature rises to 2°C above pre-industrial levels if total CO2 emissions between 2000 and 2050 can be kept to 1000-1500 billion tones.
But the report warns that if the current trend in CO2 emissions continues without change, cumulative emissions will exceed this limit within the next 20 years.
For further information:
Global renewables investment soars to $257 billion (11-Jun)
Global CO2 emissions reach record high, warns IEA (28-May)
Global CO2 emissions reach record levels (05-Dec 2011)
Global emissions will push temperatures above 2°C, warns UNEP (24-Nov 2011)
19 July 2012