Vietnam Puts the Pedal to the Metal – Germany Pumps the Brakes in Highest rate of CO2 emissions growth since 1990 reports:

Between 1990 and 2005 Vietnam had the highest rate of emissions growth among countries that emitted more than 100 million tons of CO2 in any year during the past three decades, according to’s analysis of emissions data from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC).

Vietnam’s emissions from fossil fuel use, cement manufacturing, and gas flaring increased 376 percent from 5.8 million metric tons of carbon to 27.8 million tons between 1990 and 2005. Malaysia ranked second with a 224 percent increase.

(General Note: It is maddeningly confusing when people switch between CO2 and carbon tonnage in the same breath – they are very different! 3.67 tons of CO2 equals 1 ton of Carbon.)

Of course Vietnam with a population of 86 million is accelerating to a paltry 1.2 tons of CO2 per person per year. While us Americans as well as the Australians and the Canadians (Yes, the Canadians! Their emissions are terrible and politics worse.) clock-in at a trance inducing 22 tons per person.

If not as dramatic, more worrisome is China’s emissions growth of 133% and India’s 106% growth. In a desperate (and futile) attempt to retain our title, “The World’s Biggest Emitter” the U.S. grew at a galloping 20%.

And so China is now The World’s Biggest Emitter – as notes their tear upward has only gained steam:

China’s emissions have since climbed by another 25 percent to 1.923 billion tons of carbon in 2008, according to preliminary figures from CDIAC.

And it is the growth rate in India, China and Indonesia (120%) that should give us all pause. Because as their populations are growing, with world population passing 7 billion momentarily on its way to 9 billion, so are their per capita emissions and soon they will need to not just slow their growth but reduce their emissions. (Of course we need to drop ours by 90% – now. Minor detail!)

On the flip side of the coin, Germany reduced overall emissions by 3% and Belgium by 7% between 2000 and 2005. Tiny but

So the good news is it can be done – it’s not required that we be maniacs. Let’s hope Copenhagen illuminates a path for all the countries of the world to start applying the brakes on emissions.

And so China and India’s recent announcements on carbon intensity reductions – China saying 40% by 2020 and India, 24% by 2020 – are welcome news…if tentative, non-binding, baby steps.

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