WASHINGTON (AFP) — Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by Chinese power plants are expected to surpass US utilities' emissions of the main greenhouse gas by 2017, according to the Center for Global Development.
The US think tank, which works to reduce global poverty, said in a report released Wednesday that China's growing economic might is also boosting the country's CO2 emissions.
"If we look ahead over the next 10 years China will overwhelmingly dominate the United States," David Wheeler, the report's author and a former World Bank economist, told AFP.
The CGD's wide-ranging review of emissions from 50,000 power plants around the world found that US power plants emit the most CO2 followed by China's hungry power sector.
US utilities spew out some 2.8 billion tonnes of CO2 annually while Chinese power plants are emitting 2.7 billion tonnes a year, according to the CGD study.
"The numbers we have right now for China and the US are almost at parity," Wheeler said, adding that the CGD is also monitoring Chinese power plants that are being constructed or due to be built.
"From this, we have a pretty good fix on emissions that we can expect," he said.
The survey ranked individual power plants in different countries according to their CO2 emissions.
"Globally, power generation emits nearly 10 billion tonnes of CO2 per year. The US with over 8,000 power plants out of more than 50,000 worldwide, accounts for about 25 percent of that total," the survey found.
The report claimed that the biggest US CO2 emitter is Southern Co. whose power plants belch out 172 million tonnes of the principal greenhouse gas annually, followed by American Eletric Power Company Inc., Duke Energy Corp., and AES Corp.
China's largest emitter is Huaneng Power International which accounts for 292 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, according to the survey.
The US state with the biggest CO2 emissions from electricity generation is Texas which accounts for 290 million tonnes of emissions, followed by Florida (157 million tons) and Indiana (137 million tons).
Researchers said US emissions were high partly due to high living standards, but also differences in energy policy.
"Europeans, with comparable living standards, emit less than half the power sector CO2 of the average American," said CGD president Nancy Birdsall.
The researchers, who want to speed the shift to less carbon-intensive power generation and minimize global warming, created a data base from their findings.
The online data base called CARMA (Carbon Monitoring for Action) can be accessed at www.carma.org.
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