From: Gerard Wynn, Reuters
Published September 4, 2007 03:47 PM

New Data: Growth In Carbon Emissions Slowing

LONDON - Growth in global emissions of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas carbon dioxide slowed slightly last year, preliminary data from the U.S. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) suggest.


CDIAC is the primary source of climate-change data and information analysis for the U.S. Department of Energy. In the past, its preliminary emissions estimates have been subsequently revised upwards.


"It is hard to put too much emphasis on the last number in a time series, it is always the most subject to revision," said Gregg Marland, senior scientist at CDIAC and at Austria's International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.


Marland told Reuters that CDIAC's latest, unpublished data show carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, making cement and flaring natural gas, rose 2.6 percent in 2006, versus 3.3 percent in 2005.


Emissions in 2004 and 2003 rose 5.4 and 4.7 percent respectively.


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Global carbon emissions are rising especially because countries like China and India are fuelling their rapid economic growth by burning more coal. Carbon dioxide is the commonest of several man-made greenhouse gases and is produced as a result of burning fossil fuels.


Asia-Pacific leaders gather this week for their annual Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) meeting, where trade and climate change will top the agenda.


A series of major reports by a panel of U.N. scientists earlier this year painted a bleak picture of more extreme weather including droughts, heat waves and floods unless mankind gets a grip on its output of greenhouse gases.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that emissions had to peak within eight years to keep the world on a course which the European Union says would avoid dangerous climate change.


CDIAC's preliminary estimates for 2005 and 2006 are based on fuel consumption data from oil company BP, while earlier estimates use U.N. energy data.


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