Despite the continued economic crisis, global emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, have remained constant in 2009, as strong increases in carbon dioxide emissions from fast-growing developing countries, such as China and India, have completely nullified carbon dioxide emission reductions in the industrialised world, according to one of Europe's leading scientific research groups. This is according to calculations in the report 'No growth in total global carbon dioxide emissions in 2009', published by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). The PBL based its calculations on recent data from a number of sources: data on energy use from oil company BP, on cement production from the US Geological Survey (USGS), and on the latest version of the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), which is a joint project of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). The PBL calculated that emissions from fossil-fuel combustion (including those from gas flares � the burning of waste gas from oil drilling and other industrial processes, such as the production of cement and ammonia) in the industrial countries have decreased by seven per cent. In China and India, these emissions increased by nine and six per cent, respectively � despite a doubling of wind and solar energy in China, for the fifth year in a row. Overall, this has meant that, in 2009, carbon dioxide emissions worldwide have remained constant, for the first time since 1992. In earlier projections, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted an emission decrease for 2009 of 2.6 per cent � which would have been the largest decrease in 40 years. For industrialised countries, their reductions help them to meet their international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Last year, their combined emission level was 10% below 1990 levels, and therefore well below the Kyoto target level. Together, the industrialised countries � except for the United States, which have not ratified the protocol � are on course to achieve a combined average decrease in carbon dioxide emissions of 5.2%, between 2008 and 2012, compared with 1990 levels. However, this decrease is also related to the financial crisis. A large part of production capacity has been suspended, but could be re-employed as soon as the economy improves. Therefore, it is likely that a recovering economy would cause emission levels in industrialised countries to go up. Nevertheless, the economic downturn has meant that these countries can meet their reduction obligations with more ease. Another consequence of this downturn is that some industrialised countries may need to purchase fewer emission rights from reduction projects in developing countries, which, in turn, means that there will be less funds available for emission reductions in those developing countries. Although there have been strong increases in emissions in countries such as China and India, their average carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant, in 2009, were still below those in industrial countries. In India the emissions were 1.4 tonnes per person and in China this was six tonnes, compared with 10 tonnes per person in the Netherlands and 17 tonnes in the United States.


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