China, Australia top list of “carbon bomb“ projects

China and Australia top a global list of planned oil, gas and coal projects that would act as "carbon bombs" pushing the planet towards catastrophic climate change, says  a Greenpeace report.

The Point of No Return study, by consultancy firm Ecofys for Greenpeace, points out that the 14 giant fossil fuel projects being taken up by the two countries would produce 6.3 gigatonnes of CO2 a year in 2020 --- about the same as that of the US annual emission.

The largest contributors would be five north-western provinces of China, which aim to raise coal production by 620 MT by 2015, generating an additional 1.4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

The burgeoning coal export industry of Australia, already the largest in the world, is in the second place due to its potential growth to 408 MT of shipped resource a year by 2025, resulting in an annual 760 MT of CO2.

Meanwhile, controversial exploitation of oil and gas reserves in the Arctic could release 520 MT of CO2 a year, with further major emissions set to flow from other new fossil fuels such as tar sands oil in Canada and shale gas in the US.

According to the Greenpeace report, the 14 "carbon bomb" projects would raise global emissions by 20 per cent and eat up nearly a third of the carbon budget that the International Energy Agency says could not be breached if warming was to be kept under 2C, considered the threshold for dangerous climate change.