Pollution in China. Image: Hung Chung Chih Shutterstock
The figure announced by the Chinese Minister of the Environment at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: in 2014, China emitted 12.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases.
Chinese emissions are expected to peak in 2030 and then decline sharply in the following years.
China’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by more than 50% in the period 2005-2014 : according to the report presented by the Minister of the Environment of China to the United Nations, in 2014 the Asian country’s emissions reached a record figure 12.3 billion tons, an increase of 53.5% compared to the levels indicated by the Chinese authorities only nine years earlier.
China is the world’s largest emitter : in an agreement with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Chinese authorities have pledged to provide a kind of emissions ‘inventory’ based on specific scientific criteria (and reliable). The Beijing government has already submitted two reports in 2005 and 2010.
The 2014 emissions report takes into account the increase in carbon dioxide and methane emissions, but does not consider certain aspects that mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, such as reforested areas or areas that have been recovered. .
According to the Minister of the Environment, Li Ganjie, if the effect of forests and other “carbon sinks” had been taken into account, the calculation of Chinese emissions would have been reduced to 11,186 million tons, compared to the levels registered in 2010 “only” 17%.
China expects its greenhouse gas emissions to peak around 2030: a recent analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance indicates that the peak of emissions from the Chinese energy sector should reach as early as 2027 and that CO2 levels by 2030 and methane in the sector could fall by 79% compared to the 2005 figure.
The Chinese energy sector is undergoing a rapid reconversion thanks to the abandonment of coal and a new impulse imposed on the nuclear sector with the forecast of building at least 6-8 plants per year until 2030. At the same time, China remains one of the main investors in renewable energies, with record growth (+ 12%) in installed capacity in 2018.
Last spring, the Beijing government launched a massive anti-pollution campaign that led to hundreds of checks on factories and companies across the country and the public prosecution of 82 state-owned companies for pollution.
A study published in Nature Geoscience last year estimated that Chinese emissions for 2013 had reached 9.53 billion tonnes and were poised to decline in the next few years.
The report submitted by the Chinese authorities themselves to the UN contradicts forecasts, while record levels reached in recent years by particularly energy-hungry sectors, such as metal production, are likely to have made emissions even higher than those declared for 2014.