13 November 2007 21:20 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--North America released more than 1 bn tonnes of carbon in 2003, representing over a quarter of the world's total emissions, according to a study released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Carbon emissions are a suspected cause of global warming. Such concerns have led to proposals to cap greenhouse gases, which are aused by the use of oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels.
North America's carbon emissions exceed the amount absorbed by vegetation by a factor of three to one, the study said. Moreover, vegetation will absorb less carbon as forests mature and grow more slowly.
Vegetation growth could also slow down due to droughts caused by global warming and increased damage caused by fires and insects, the study said.
North America's largest contributor of the carbon emissions is the conversion of fossil fuels into energy, as is done in electrical generation, the study said. Electrical generation accounted for 94% of the carbon emissions in the US in 2004, the most recent data available.
Canada's share was 65% in 2003, the most recent year available, the study said. Mexico's share was 67% in 1998.
Transportation followed electrical generation as the largest source of carbon emissions in North America, the study said.
In the US, the rate of carbon emissions could drop as a result of increasing energy efficiency in the nation's manufacturing base and to the economy's shift towards more service jobs, which consume less energy, the study said.As such, the amount for carbon emitted for each dollar of inflation-adjusted GDP has dropped by 2%/year, the study said.
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