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U.S. greenhouse gas emissions up

By Alister Doyle (Reuters) - May 9, 2007

U.S. and Russian greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2005, more than cancelling out a dip in the European Union’s emissions despite growing calls to limit global warming, official data shows.

Combined emissions by the United States, Russia and the EU, accounting for about half the world total, rose by 0.4 percent to 14.55 billion tonnes in 2005 from 2004, according to data compiled by Reuters from the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.

“Emissions trends are continuing upwards, which contradicts political rhetoric globally,” Bill Hare, a Greenpeace adviser who also works at German Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said during 166-nation U.N. climate talks in Bonn.

And experts say that emissions by developing nations led by China and India, which do not have to report 2005 data to the Bonn-based Secretariat, are rising far faster as they use more coal and oil to power their fast-growing economies.

A report by U.N. climate panel last week said the world was running out of time to make the deep cuts needed to combat global warming, which could bring widening droughts, heatwaves, floods, spread disease and push up world sea levels.

It said world emissions would have to peak by 2015 and fall by 50 to 85 percent by 2050 to reach a goal of limiting temperature rises to 2 to 2.4 Celsius (3.6 to 8.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

“Deep emissions cuts by industrialized countries are needed,” Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told 1,000 delegates at the opening of the May 7-18 talks in Bonn on ways to slow warming.

And Germany wants to use a meeting of leading industrialized and developing nations it will host next month to push for new commitments to cap greenhouse gases.

U.S. RISE

U.S. data submitted to the Secretariat show emissions rose by 0.7 percent in 2005 to a record 7.24 billion tonnes and were 16.3 percent above 1990 levels.

Russia’s report shows that emissions, which plunged with the collapse of Soviet-era smokestack industries in the 1990s, rose by 2.2 percent in 2005 to 2.13 billion tonnes. But they were still 28.7 percent below 1990 levels.

Emissions by 27 EU members dipped by 0.8 percent to 5.18 billion tonnes and were 8.0 percent below 1990 levels, with big 2005 cuts by Germany, Finland and the Netherlands.

“The figures could still be adjusted slightly,” said Andreas Barkman of the European Environment Agency.

The United States, the EU and Russia are the main emitters among industrialized societies. Nations including Japan and Canada have not sent in data for 2005.

The European Union and Russia are signatories of the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 35 industrialized nations by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 in a first small step to slow warming.

President George W. Bush opposes Kyoto-style caps on emissions, saying they would cost jobs, but is trying to cut the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per dollar of economic output by 18 percent in the decade to 2012.

Washington says it is on track to reach that goal. Some U.S. states, such as California, and cities are embracing Kyoto-style caps. A 1992 U.N. climate convention, backed by Washington, set a non-binding goal of limiting emissions to 1990 levels by 2000.