China to overtake US emissions “much faster than expected”

China is likely to overtake the US this year or in 2008 as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, indicated a report released last week by Chinese authorities.

New statistics released in Beijing by China’s National Bureau of Statistics show that China’s consumption of fossil fuels rose in 2006 by 9.3%, about the same rate as in previous years.

While China’s total greenhouse gas emissions were only 42% of the U.S. level in 2001, they had soared to an estimated 97% of the American level by 2006.

"The new data are not encouraging," said Yang Fuqiang, China director for the Energy Foundation, a San Francisco organisation that works with the Chinese government on energy-saving programs. "China will overtake the United States much faster than expected as the No. 1 emitter."

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