China has achieved a "dramatic" and "stunning" slowdown in its emissions of carbon dioxide in the last decade while making rapid progress in its economic expansion, the New York Times reported on Friday.
"China's emissions of carbon dioxide have shrunk by 17 percent since the mid-1990s, and remarkably, over the same period, (its) GDP grew by 36 percent," the newspaper quoted a recent report from researchers at the Laboratory in California as saying.
The report noted that China has contributed "substantially" to reducing growth in global emissions even though it has not undertaken binding commitments under an international agreement.
The latest findings have proved that the United States will remain the biggest polluter for some time to come and it is wrong to estimate that China would overtake the United States as the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases by 2020, the newspaper said.
The development served as a forceful rebuttal to US President George W. Bush's Monday remark that he cannot support the 1997 Kyoto Protocol mainly because it exempts China and other developing countries from the initial limits on greenhouse gases emissions that richer countries are supposed to accept.
In the last decade, according to data compiled by the United States Energy Department, China's carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have increased at annual rate of 0.9 percent, much lower than the 1.3 percent a year registered in the United States, even though China has scored faster economic growth.
"There is a good basis to argue that China has done more to combat climate change over the past decade than has the United States," said the Natural Resources Defense Council, an American environmental group.
Zhou Dadi, director of China's Energy Research Institute, was quoted as saying that China's per capita energy use "is just one- tenth of that in the United States and one-seven of that in Europe. " "We already has one of the world's best records in improving energy efficiency," he said.
Before 1980, China's energy consumption climbed up by 1.6 times as fast as the economy, but in the last 20 years, energy use has grown at less than half the rate of the economy - an exceptional advance in the efficient use of fuels, Zhou was quoted as saying.
The newspaper put out the front-page story at a time when President Bush was bitterly criticized by the European allies for his refusal to accept the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on limiting greenhouse gases emissions.