7 march 2016

China vowed to peak carbon emissions by 2030. It could be way ahead of schedule

By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post, March 7

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks to reporters during a press conference in Beijing on Nov. 12, 2014. President Obama and Xi announced new climate change targets at the end of their two-day talks in Beijing. Xi said China’s carbon-dioxide emissions would peak around 2030, with non-fossil fuel sources making 20 percent of energy sources by then. (How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency)

In November 2014, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands on a historic agreement to control greenhouse gas emissions in both countries. The United States pledged to bring national emissions at least 26 percent below their 2005 levels, while China vowed to put a peak on its growing carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030. These pledges would go on to become part of each country’s national commitments for the 2015 Paris Agreement, which was adopted during the United Nations’s climate conference in December.

It seemed an ambitious set of targets at the time, particularly for China, which overtook the United States as the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter in 2007. Yet experts are now saying that achieving its goal is not only possible for China — the country may have already done so by the time the climate deal was made.

A new paper, released Sunday night by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, argues that a changing economic and energy landscape in China will help the nation’s emissions to peak by 2025 at the latest — if it didn’t already happen in 2014.


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