China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its climate strategy to achieve carbon neutrality is often seen as critical to the future of the planet.
How much does China export?
In 2021, China released 14.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to data from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Impact Research based on climate monitoring statistics.
This figure makes China the world’s largest emitter. China is second only to the United States when countries’ overall emissions are taken into account.
The International Energy Agency asserts that there is no “reasonable scenario” for limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times without China.
Where do emissions come from?
The International Energy Agency reports that coal accounts for half of China’s carbon emissions and generates 60% of its electricity.
Industry is responsible for 36% of carbon dioxide emissions, while the transport sector contributes 8% and construction contributes 5%.
China is increasing its capacity to generate renewable energy at a record pace, especially solar power, but the latter has so far only met growing electricity demand, meaning it has not replaced fossil fuels.
2024 could be the year of change. According to a study by Carbon Brief, increases in renewable energy generation capacity and expected increases in hydropower generation will “reduce fossil fuel electricity generation and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions” from China from 2024.
What are China’s climate goals?
In 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that his country would try to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve “carbon neutrality” by 2060.
The following year, he pledged to end funding and construction of new coal-fired plants overseas and announced a five-year plan with new goals.
China has pledged to reduce its emissions by 65% relative to 2005 levels, with a target of producing more than 1,200 gigawatts of solar and wind power by 2030.
By 2021, the country could generate 1,056 gigawatts of clean energy, according to the International Energy Agency, far ahead of the United States (345 gigawatts).
In November, Beijing released a plan to curb methane emissions, but did not set specific targets.
Is China on the right track?
Overall, experts say China will meet its climate goals, but that’s partly because its ambitions are insufficient.
70% of 89 experts surveyed by the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research said they believe China will peak its emissions by 2030.
The United Nations Environment Program said in November that China would “probably meet” its targets, noting that more than half of its electricity generation capacity now comes from non-fossil sources.
This target was achieved ahead of schedule (2025) and this share is expected to continue to grow.
But demand for energy is also expected to rise, and supply concerns have led to the expansion of coal-related capacity, according to the same source, which experts say threatens the country’s progress.
Despite the Chinese president’s promises on coal, China has been reluctant to commit to any formula for eliminating or reducing the use of fossil fuels. Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 10). cup28).
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