World Bulletin / News Desk
China is poised to overtake the United States as the main cause of man-made global warming since 1990, the benchmark year for U.N.-led action, in a historic shift that may raise pressure onBeijing to act.
The shift, reflecting China's stellar economic growth, raises questions about historical blame for rising temperatures and more floods, desertification, heatwaves and sea level rise.
Almost 200 nations will meet in Paris in December to work out a global deal to fight climate actions beyond 2020.
"A few years ago China's per capita emissions were low, its historical responsibility was low. That's changing fast," said Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Oslo (CICERO), who says China will overtake the United States this year.
Using slightly different data, the U.S.-based World Resources Institute think-tank estimated that China's cumulative carbon dioxide emissions will total 151 billion tonnes for 1990-2016, overtaking the U.S. total of 147 billion next year.
The rise of cumulative emissions "obviously does open China up to claims of responsibility from other developing countries," said Daniel Farber, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley.
In a U.N. principle laid down in 1992, rich nations are meant to lead in cutting greenhouse gas emissions because their wealth is based on burning coal, oil and natural gas since the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century.
Emerging nations, meanwhile, can burn more fossil fuels to catch up and end poverty. But the rapid economic rise of China, India, Brazil and many other emerging nations is straining the traditional divide between rich and poor.Last Mod: 13 Nisan 2015, 14:29