Wednesday, August 27, 2008

China Electric Power Exceeds USA Power Use

The carbon emissions of China's electric power sector will jump by about a third this year and surpass the total emissions of the U.S. electric power industry for the first time, according to a report, by the Center for Global Development, a Washington-based think tank. Worldwide, power generation accounts for 37 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. The report highlights the challenge of curbing greenhouse gases in time to slow climate change while maintaining world economic growth. According to the report, Chinese power plants will produce about 3.1 billion tons of CO2 this year, up from about 2.3 billion tons in 2007. U.S. power plants are expected to produce about 2.8 billion tons of CO2 this year, about the same as last year.

The United States spews more carbon dioxide per person than other nations. Electricity usage here produces about 9.5 tons of CO2 per person, compared with 2.4 tons per person in China, 0.6 in India and 0.1 in Brazil, the report said. The report shows that over the past eight years, global carbon dioxide emissions have grown to 11.4 billion tons a year.

Half of the biggest carbon emitters worldwide are Chinese power companies, led by Huaneng Power International, an independent company initially led by the son of former premier Li Peng. The next biggest are the South African utility Eskom, China Huadian Group and the Atlanta-based Southern Co., which has 4.4 million customers and 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity. (The Washington Post, 8/27/08)

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