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Australia overtakes US as biggest polluter

September 14, 2009
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The Associated Foreign Press reports that Australians have overtaken Americans as the world''s biggest individual producers of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for global warming, according to a risk consultancy. British firm Maplecroft placed Australia''s per capita output at 20.58 tons a year, some four percent higher than the United States and at the top of the list of 185 countries. Canada, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia rounded out the top five. China remains the world''s biggest overall greenhouse gas polluter, followed by the United States. Maplecroft added that China and India''s per person carbon production came in at just 4.5 and 1.16 tons respectively, in sharp contrast to their big overall figures. The report was released ahead of a major UN summit in Copenhagen in December aiming to thrash out a new climate change treaty. Australia, whose vast size and isolation make for high transport costs for goods and people, has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25-percent by 2020 compared to 2000 levels. However, emissions trading legislation was defeated in the Australian Senate last month, leaving the target in doubt.
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