From: Reuters
Published November 17, 2008 07:56 AM

Ex-Soviet bloc leads rises in CO2 emissions: U.N.

OSLO (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions in many industrialised nations are still rising, especially in the former Soviet bloc, despite agreements to cut back, the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat said on Monday.

Emissions by 40 industrialized nations grew by 2.3 percent to the equivalent of 18.0 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2006 from 17.6 billion in 2000, it said. They dipped 0.1 percent in 2006 compared with 2005 but underlying trends were still up.

"Greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries continue to rise," the Secretariat said of the 2000-06 trend, in a statement on its annual official compilation of data used to assess compliance with U.N. treaties.

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It said the biggest recent gains were by nations of the former Soviet bloc, whose emissions had risen 7.4 percent since 2000 to 3.7 billion tonnes after crashing in the early 1990s with the collapse of former smokestack industries.

It said the rising trends showed the need for the world's environment ministers to make progress on a new U.N. climate treaty, due to be agreed by the end of next year, at talks in Poznan, Poland, from December 1 to 12.

"The figures clearly underscore the urgency for the U.N. negotiating process to make good progress in Poznan and move forward quickly in designing a new agreement to respond to the challenge of climate change," said Yvo de Boer, head of the Secretariat.

The U.N. Climate Panel says global emissions should peak by 2015 and then fall, to avoid the worst of climate change that could bring water and food shortages by causing floods, heatwaves and more powerful storms.

U.S. DECLINE

The 2006 dip of 0.1 percent from 2005 was caused mainly by a fall in U.S. emissions to 7.0 billion tonnes from 7.1 billion tonnes in 2005, helped by factors including rising oil prices and a mild winter that cut demand for heating.

A Reuters compilation of national data in September also showed that decline.

President George W. Bush, who has kept the United States out of the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol for curbing emissions, projects that U.S. emissions will peak only in 2025.

President-elect Barack Obama wants far tougher action that would cut emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. He plans investments in a clean energy economy of up to $150 billion over 10 years.

Monday's data only covers industrialized nations -- developing nations face no obligation to cut or even report annual emissions.

Despite the rising trend since 2000, emissions were down 4.7 percent from 1990 levels of 18.9 billion tonnes, caused mainly by the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Kyoto calls for average cuts of at least 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Monday's report did not consider how far the 2008 global economic slowdown may affect emissions, which have grown worldwide by 70 percent since the 1970s.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

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