A report by the think tank Rhodium Group, which provides emissions estimates and projections, found that China’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 were greater than those of the OECD and all EU countries combined.
Rhodium Group assessed national emissions by taking into account all six “Kyoto gases”, land use, forests and international bunkers. The report found that China’s greenhouse gas emissions have more than tripled in the last 30 years and per capita emissions have nearly tripled in the last 20 years.
However, the population is the largest in the world, which means that the emissions per person are far behind those of, for example, the US. In 2019, China emitted 27 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases (more than 14 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents).
The US was the second biggest offender at 11 percent, with India in third place at 6.6 percent. The 27 member states of the EU jointly contribute 6.4 percent, which puts them behind India for the first time. In total, the world emitted 52 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019 – an increase of more than 11 percent over the past decade.
China’s emissions in 2019 exceeded those of all OECD and EU member states combined. In 1990, emissions were less than a quarter of these combined developed countries.
Rhodium Group recognized that China’s history as a major emitter is relatively short compared to the OECD and the EU27, many of which were more than a century ahead:
“Much of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere every year hangs in the hundreds. years around. . As a result, today’s global warming is the result of emissions from both the recent and distant past.
Since 1750, members of the OECD bloc have on a cumulative basis emitted four times more CO2 than China. “China is the world leader in renewable electricity generation and is rapidly expanding its green infrastructure with the help of massive government investment.
However, its energy needs are so great that it still relies on fossil fuels – mainly coal – as a major energy source. more than 1,000 operational coal-fired power plants, representing more than half of the global coal capacity, and continues to accelerate coal-fired construction.
According to an independent scientific analysis of national climate action (the Climate Action Tracker), China’s approach is inconsistent with limiting global warming to below 2 ° C in line with the Paris Agreement The country is committed to racing to zero net emissions by 2060, peaking in 2030 – an ambitious target given the magnitude of national emissions and the government’s commitment to continued ec onomic growth.
President Xi Jinping echoed this promise at a recent climate summit hosted by US President Joe Biden, noting that the goal of decarbonising the economy is based on both a sense of responsibility for ‘a shared future for humanity’ and on China’s own need for sustainable development.
He added that China would limit increases in coal consumption over the next five years, with cuts for the next five years.