Scientists find huge hole in Chinese emissions data

Scientists find huge hole in Chinese emissions data

Scientists find huge hole in Chinese emissions data

Posted 11 June 2012, 3:56 AEST

China's carbon emissions could be nearly 20 per cent higher than previously thought according to a new report.

Fresh analysis of China's official data shows carbon emission figures for the nation and figures for the provinces between 1997 and 2010 do not match up.

A team of scientists from China, the UK and the US studied both sets of data and found a gap of 1.4 billion tonnes, which is slightly more than Japan's annual emissions.

Pinning down an accurate total for Chinese carbon emissions has long been a challenge because of doubts about the quality of the county's official data.

It is that data which is used to compute how the planet's climate will change, helping plan for more extremes of drought, flood and the impact on crops.

Researchers say the gap will add extra uncertainty to climate change modelling.

"The sad fact is that Chinese energy and emission data as primary input to the models will add extra uncertainty in modelling simulations of predicting future climatic change," say the authors of a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

China has already overtaken the United States as the world's top greenhouse gas polluter, producing about a quarter of mankind's carbon pollution that scientists say is heating up the planet and triggering more extreme weather.