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China is likely to fall short of its climate targets due to an increase in CO2 emissions.
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China is likely to fall short of its climate targets due to an increase in CO2 emissions.

According to an analysis, China has not met any of its main climate goals for 2025, even though clean energy has become the primary factor driving the nation’s economic expansion.

Following a period of remarkably swift expansion, China is currently facing a deceleration that is having impacts both domestically and globally. While the government has ramped up efforts to boost the renewable energy sector, it has also injected funds into construction and manufacturing and continues to endorse coal power.

In comparison to previous years, China’s economy grew at a slower pace of 5.2% in 2023. However, there was a 5.7% increase in total energy consumption for the first time since 2005, indicating a higher demand for energy than the country’s GDP growth.

2 emissions will continue to rise,

However, despite a slowdown in economic growth, carbon dioxide emissions have not decreased. This is because China’s economic growth, which has been energy-intensive during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, has resulted in continued growth in CO2 emissions. It is expected that between 2021 and 2023, there will be a further increase in CO2 emissions.2

Between 2016 and 2020, the rate of emissions growth increased to an average of 3.8% per year, compared to 0.9% per year. During this time, there was a slight decrease in GDP growth.

The results were reported in a study by Lauri Myllyvirta, a principal researcher at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), as published by Carbon Brief.

2 are emitted per unit of GDP.

According to the Paris agreement, China has committed to achieving various goals by 2025. These goals include increasing the use of non-fossil energy sources to 20% and reducing the carbon intensity of their economy by 18%. Carbon intensity measures the amount of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP.2

One kilowatt hour of electricity is generated.

2 emissions from energy use in China

According to Myllyvirta’s assessment, China is not meeting its targets in several areas, largely due to the high carbon intensity of its recent economic growth. This is evident in the amount of CO2 emissions from energy consumption in China.2

According to Myllyvirta, in order to reach the government’s 2025 goal, emissions must decrease by 4-6%.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy was supported by the government through the injection of stimulus measures into the construction and manufacturing sector. This resulted in a shift towards more carbon-intensive growth, according to Myllyvirta. In contrast, other countries focused their stimulus measures on households, leading to a rise in demand for consumer goods and ultimately causing an export boom for China.

Myllyvirta stated that it is possible to reverse the economic distortions caused by the pandemic and the implementation of zero-Covid measures. This, combined with a push towards clean energy, could result in a rapid decrease in emissions.

2 emissions

Approximately one percent of China’s carbon dioxide emissions.2

The increase in emissions last year was primarily influenced by the production of environmentally friendly technologies, including solar panels, electric cars, and batteries. These items will ultimately contribute to a decrease in overall emissions, although some of this impact will be seen in countries outside of China due to the exportation of goods.

One difficulty in comprehending China’s energy conversion is the magnitude of the figures in each industry, which hold global significance. While the International Energy Agency reports that China installed as much solar PV in 2023 as the rest of the world did in 2022, the country’s energy demands have increased at a faster pace, surpassing the amount of clean energy being added.

Due to the rise in energy needs, there is a pressing need for non-fossil fuel sources to increase their production by over 11% annually in order to reach the 2025 goal. At present, the rate of growth for renewable energy production is 8.5%. In 2023, China’s economy saw a boost of $1.6tn (£1.26tn) thanks to clean energy, which accounted for the entire increase in investment.

2 emissions from China’s energy sector need to decrease by 13% by 2025

China’s goal of reducing the carbon intensity of their economy by 18% by 2025 has only seen a 5% decrease since 2020. This means that in order to reach their target, China’s energy sector must reduce CO2 emissions by 13% by 2025.2

To reach the goal, emissions must decrease in absolute terms between 2023 and 2025.

In 2023, the National Energy Administration reported that China’s renewable energy capacity surpassed 1.45bn kilowatts, comprising over 50% of the nation’s total installed power generation capacity.

However, a distinct study released on Thursday by CREA revealed that China gave the green light to 114 GW of coal-generated power in 2023, an increase from 104 GW in 2022. China’s contribution to worldwide coal emissions exceeded 64% in 2023.

2 emissions should be maximized

Ever since Xi Jinping, the leader of China, promised to “firmly regulate” the construction of new coal power in 2021, there has been a significant increase in the approval of new coal projects. Almost 50% of the increase in power generation from 2020 to 2023 can be attributed to coal. This is due in part to thermal power developers and government officials viewing this decade as a prime time to maximize CO2 emissions.2

Emissions are predicted to rise until 2030, when Xi has pledged that they will reach their highest point. However, it is widely believed that China will achieve this goal by 2025.

Many municipal governments, specifically those in mining regions, frequently depend on investing in coal mines and thermal power plants to increase their gross domestic product numbers.

Myllyvirta stated that there has been a significant increase in coal consumption and the approval of new coal power plants since President Xi’s pledges in 2021. This goes against their commitments and China must take decisive action in 2024-25 to avoid breaking them.

Source: theguardian.com