By Liang Yiwen | 2012-12-4 | NEWSPAPER EDITION
CHINA'S carbon emissions per head are approaching those of the European Union, but are still about a third of the United States, according to research published in the latest edition of science journal Nature Climate Change.
Emissions per person in China were 6.6 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to the EU's 7.3 tons. The figure for the US was 17.2 tons.
However, China is still the world's biggest contributor of global carbon dioxide emissions which are due to reach a record high of 35.6 billion tons this year, according to the Global Carbon Project led by researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the UK's University of East Anglia.
China was responsible for 28 percent of emissions in 2011 compared to the United States (16 percent), the EU (11 percent), and India (7 percent), according to the research.
Emissions in China and India grew by 9.9 and 7.5 percent in 2011, while those of the US and the EU decreased by 1.8 and 2.8 per cent, according to researchers at the Fudan Tyndall Centre, a partnership between Shanghai's Fudan University and the UK organization.
"Something like 30 percent of China's carbon emissions are related to goods consumed in other countries," said Chen Jianmin, director of the Fudan center and professor in the university's Environmental Science and Engineering department.
"The global pattern of responsibilities is complex," he said.
Professor Trevor Davies, director of the Fudan center, said: "Historically, other countries have been responsible for building up the burden of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But the challenge, today, is one for all countries to face."
"The innovation we find in China, together with its science and technology expertise, means that the country could grasp a major leadership role in facing up to this global challenge," Davies said.
Professor Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said: "I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory.
"We need a radical plan," she said.
China has incorporated sustainable development into its national strategy.
In 2011, China's legislature set out concrete targets in addressing climate change in its five-year plan, which emphasized green and low-carbon development.
Currently, almost 200 countries are attending a UN climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, which will end on Friday.