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Chinese warming

Although natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions or warm ocean currents, or even the earth’s tilt, might all contribute to global warming, carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by human activity–from running homes and factories to flying planes and mowing lawns–is accepted as a major culprit.

Measurements show the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen nearly 20% over the past 45 years. Despite local cold spells, five of the hottest years on record have all occurred in the past seven years, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Meanwhile, most of the CO2 emissions come from the OECD area, with 12,794 million tonnes in 2003. However, emissions from the rest of the world are rising. As the latest OECD in Figures shows, since 1985 China’s level has more than doubled, with a rise of 2,009 million tonnes, not far short of the rise of 2,369 Mt for the entire OECD area.

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2006, ISBN 926402848X

©OECD Observer No 258/259, December 2006