China, India and the rest of the developing world will produce most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that will drive future global warming, according to projections reported Monday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The report projects 68 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions will come from poorer countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by 2040, and will largely be driven by China and India.
Total global energy-related CO2 emissions will go up by one-third by 2040, largely due to the growth of coal power in China and India. This will occur even though China promised to peak its CO2 emissions by 2030.
China is by far the world’s largest emitter of CO2 and has been since 2006, while India has long accounted for the largest share of global emissions growth. China emits 29 percent of the world’s CO2, while the U.S. is only responsible for 15 percent. The European Union accounts for 10 percent of global emissions, and India accounts for another 6 percent, according to a 2014 study by the EU.
Cutting Chinese and Indian CO2 is critical to the goal of slowing global warming, yet neither country has made a serious commitment to spending $90 trillion — the green energy price tag the International Energy Agency says is required to curb warming.
India has stated it will only reduce emissions if it receives substantial assistance from Western countries, equivalent to $2.5 trillion over the next 15 years in direct aid, grants, and cheap financing.
Over 2,400 coal-fired power plants are under construction or being planned around the world, 1,171 of which will be built in China. India is building 297 and planning another 149 coal plants.
The growth of coal power in China and India means that, mathematically, American CO2 reduction schemes are futile without global participation. Consumption of coal in China alone grew by a factor of three from 2000 to 2013. It now consumes approximately half of all coal used worldwide. Coal produced 66 percent of all Chinese electricity in 2012, according to the EIA.
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