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China—Moving Forward

Ecofys Consultancy, an energy and climate consulting group, has determined China to be in good stead to achieve, and even surpass, its pledge for the Paris Climate Agreement. Earlier this year, China demonstrated positive developments in coal use as it canceled the construction of over 100 coal power stations. This effort is recognized as the country’s most significant yet. Coupled with slower coal use in India, both countries are predicted to reduce projected global carbon emissions growth by about two to three billion tonnes by 2030 compared to forecasts made just last year. Indeed, recent observations show that slower rates of greenhouse gas, particularly carbon dioxide emissions, are part of a larger sustained decline. Together, India and China would offset the relatively poor performance expected by the US, which is set to miss its Paris pledge.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Energy Agency (IEA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tsinghua University, peaking carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 will reduce China’s emissions by at least 1.7 Gt, or 14%, from the most optimistic business-as-usual scenario.

According to Climate Tracker, China’s status is ‘Medium’.

China is on track to peak its carbon dioxide emissions between 2025 and 2030, but total greenhouse gases could continue to increase until at least 2030. Although China’s policies and actions appear set to achieve its INDC, the INDC itself is not yet ambitious enough to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius.

That being said, China’s president Xi Jinping, recently reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement over a telephone call with incoming French president, Emmanuel Macron. This public acknowledgement shows China’s leadership on global climate action despite international fears of the US Trump Administration’s rollbacks, or even complete withdrawal from the pact. The US and China had previously worked closely to lead global climate action, however China refuses to let this hold them back in further progress. For this reason, it is possible that China will accelerate its actions toward the Paris Agreement, and even increase its pledge henceforward.

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