That, at least, is what one International Energy Authority official told
Reuters this week, although the IEA's last official report on the
subject of global warning, released last November, predicted that China
would not overtake the US until 2009 at the earliest.
A senior scientist at the US Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis
Centre (CDIAC) is even more pessimistic and believes China will
overtake the US as early as this year. China's CO2 emissions in 2005 are estimated to have been 5.3bn tons versus 5.9bn for the US.
China's share is growing much faster, of course, hence the concern
— both at the prospect of China unseating the US and the country's
attempts to backtrack on previous promises to take the issue of global
warning more seriously.
A copy of a so-far unpublished Chinese government global warming
report, seen by Reuters, rejects binding caps on carbon emissions until
the country's modernisation is complete — sometime in the middle of
China's laissez-faire approach contrasts sharply with that of many
signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, which favour setting binding targets.
For example, the European Commission has proposed cutting average CO2 emissions from new cars produced in the EU by around 25% by 2012. Road transport generates around 20% of CO2
emissions in the EU. The EC acted after realising that carmakers would
miss a voluntary target to reduce emissions from new cars by 2008.
See this EngagingChina story for more on last year's IEA report