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How much do we pollute?

We know that emissions are rising, but our system of measurement is all over the place

By Mary Fitzgerald   November 2009

How do we know that carbon emissions are rising? The worldwide system of measurement is open to error and abuse, and only half of global emissions are properly accounted for.

Industrialised (Annex 1) nations report their domestic CO2 inventories annually to the UNFCCC: this represents about 50 per cent of global emissions. Non-Annex 1 countries like China, India and Brazil are expected to report as well (though the least developed nations, like Bangladesh and Madagascar, can submit at their discretion). But their reports are sporadic and do not undergo the same review procedure as Annex 1 parties.

Countries estimate their…

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