China is forecasting a significant drop in annual CO2 emissions, approximately 1%, according to Greenpeace East Asia’s analysis of China’s National Energy Administration forecasts for 2017. It is the fourth year in a row to exhibit either zero growth or a decline in the country’s CO2 emissions.
Greenpeace considers that this sends a strong signal to US president Trump that his ‘dirty energy’ agenda will send the American economy in the wrong direction as the rest of the world moves forward.
Statistics released in late February by the Statistical Communique on Economic and Social Development show that coal consumption in 2016 fell for the third year in a row, by approximately 1.3%. Data released in January shows that China is also breaking records for solar panel deployment, installing enough panels “to cover three football pitches every single hour of the year” according to Greenpeace. Some would say this is an excellent way to use football pitches.
Greenpeace East Asia’s analysis shows that China is almost certain to overachieve its 2020 climate targets and could be on track to a much earlier CO2 peak if the rapid shift to clean energy and away from over-reliance on polluting industries continues.
After almost two decades of growth, China’s CO2 emissions have remained stable since 2013, after leveling off in 2014 and falling for the first time in 2015. 2016 saw another year of zero growth, while 2017 is expected to see a substantial decline in CO2 emissions. This trend has enabled global emissions to stay stable since 2013.
Preliminary information indicates that China’s total energy consumption grew 1.4% in 2016, a slight pick-up from 2015 but continuing the dramatic slowdown since 2013. Coal consumption fell by approximately 1.3%, while coal output shrank by 9%. Non-fossil energy continued to grow at 12% – all of China’s electricity demand growth since 2013.
“China is ploughing money into renewables and reining in its addiction to coal. As Trump’s rhetoric leaves the world in doubt about what his plan is to tackle climate change, China is being thrust into a leadership role,” said Li Shuo, Greenpeace Global Policy Advisor. “These trends give some hope that the global peak in emissions might well be within reach, but only if all major emitters break free from fossil fuels and reduce emissions.”
Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard commented: “While the Trump administration proposes huge cuts to federal climate-change programmes and vows to ‘cancel Paris’, the majority of the people in the United States want action on climate change. The US Congress has to listen to what the people want and stop our delusional president from sabotaging global progress on the most urgent issue facing the human species.”