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Atmospheric scientists release first 'bottom-up' estimates of China's CO2 emissions
Date:7/6/2012

Cambridge, Mass. - July 6, 2012 - Atmospheric scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Nanjing University have produced the first "bottom-up" estimates of China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, for 2005 to 2009, and the first statistically rigorous estimates of the uncertainties surrounding China's CO2 emissions.

The independent estimates, rooted in part in measurements of pollutants both at the sources and in the air, may be the most accurate totals to date. The resulting figures offer an unbiased basis on which China might measure its progress toward its well-publicized CO2 control goals.

The findings were published July 4 in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

"China's emissions of CO2 are of central concern in efforts to combat global climate change," says lead author Yu Zhao, a former postdoctoral researcher at Harvard SEAS who is now a professor at the Nanjing University School of Environment in China. "But despite all of the attention to China's CO2 emissions, they're less well quantified than most people realize."

Existing estimates for these emissions are calculated "top-down," based on annual energy statistics that are released by the Chinese government. The nation has only once officially estimated its CO2 emissions, based on national energy statistics from 1994, although it is now constructing a data system to produce periodic national greenhouse gas inventories. Non-Chinese organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the Netherlands Environment Agency, produce widely cited CO2 estimates for China (among other countries), but these are also based on the national energy data.

A study published last month by a ChinaU.K.U.S. team in Nature Climate Change spotlighted a large disparity in estimates of Chinese CO2 emissions when the numbers were based on national e
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Contact: Caroline Perry
cperry@seas.harvard.edu
617-496-1351
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert

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