China in 2007 surged well ahead of the United States as the world´s biggest emitter of carbpn dioxide, posing a major challenge to emissions control agreements that center on developed countries.

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency indicated in its annual report that China´s emissions had risen 14% above total emissions for the United States in 2007, and accounted for two-thirds of the global rise in emissions during the year. The report blamed the surge in emissions on China´s heavy reliance on coal as a power soure, and on the surge in growth in the sectors that are the worst polluters: cement, aluminum and plate glass.

The data makes it evident that not only the United States, but also China and probably India should be included in any future agreements to control carbon emissions, particularly the new agreement to be signed in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.

But it also poses deep questions about the ability of today´s emerging economies to reach higher levels of development unless they adopt a radically different growth model. If China is set to overtake the U.S. economy as the world´s largest within decades, what will be the impact on global warming?


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