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China surpasses United States in emissions

BILTHOVEN, Netherlands, June 19 China's 2006 carbon dioxide emissions were 8 percent higher than those of the United States, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency announced Tuesday.

For the first time China is the No. 1 carbon dioxide emitting country, largely due to cement clinker production. The NEAA produced its preliminary numbers from British Petroleum energy data and cement production data.

According to the NEAA, cement clinker production is the cause of about 4 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions -- the largest carbon emitting industrial process. China represents 44 percent of global cement production.

China's emissions of carbon dioxide increased 8.7 percent in 2006 alone and are expected to continue increasing due to drastic economic and industrial growth. The increase is also due to increased coal consumption in 2006, about 4.5 percent.

While China was projected to surpass the United States in carbon dioxide emissions, in 2005 it was still 2 percent below U.S. levels. The European Union is the third-largest carbon dioxide emitter, but its levels are about half of China's. The next biggest emitters are Russia, India and Japan.

With China's increasing emissions, global emissions continue to increase as well. In 2006 global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use increased by about 2.6 percent -- slightly less than the growth in 2005.

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