Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A new study suggests China’s shift from heavy industry to a high tech service economy will cause CO2 emissions to peak well before the 2030 goal – though the study authors admit they haven’t considered smaller cities.
China is on track to meet its climate change goals nine years early
ENVIRONMENT 26 July 2019
By Adam Vaughan
Now an analysis has found that China’s emissions could peak at 13 to 16 gigatonnes of CO2 between 2021 and 2025, making what the researchers call a “a great contribution” to meeting the Paris deal’s goal of limiting temperature rises to 2°C. The official target is a peak by “around 2030.”
However, Haikun and colleagues admit they didn’t analyse many small cities, which have the potential to develop more, so the real emissions may end up higher. The US-based thinktank World Resources Institute also says that while more countries are peaking emissions – 57 are due by 2030, up from 19 in 1990 – it will still not be enough to make global emissions peak in the next few years.
…Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2211366-china-is-on-track-to-meet-its-climate-change-goals-nine-years-early/
The abstract of the study;
China pledges to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 or sooner under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2 °C or less by the end of the century. By examining CO2 emissions from 50 Chinese cities over the period 2000–2016, we found a close relationship between per capita emissions and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) for individual cities, following the environmental Kuznets curve, despite diverse trajectories for CO2 emissions across the cities. Results show that carbon emissions peak for most cities at a per capita GDP (in 2011 purchasing power parity) of around US$21,000 (80% confidence interval: US$19,000 to 22,000). Applying a Monte Carlo approach to simulate the peak of per capita emissions using a Kuznets function based on China’s historical emissions, we project that emissions for China should peak at 13–16 GtCO2 yr−1 between 2021 and 2025, approximately 5–10 yr ahead of the current Paris target of 2030. We show that the challenges faced by individual types of Chinese cities in realizing low-carbon development differ significantly depending on economic structure, urban form and geographical location.Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0339-6
I’m always a little dubious about analysis of China conducted by Chinese academics, particularly where a negative finding might cause embarrassment for the Chinese government.
The South China Post recently revealed massive fraud in reported economic growth in the city of Guanghan.
This isn’t the first time; fake reports of economic growth may even have been responsible for the myth of decoupling, a period several years ago when Chinese growth appeared to be surging despite a slump in the growth of reported Chinese CO2 emissions.
Then Chinese CO2 emissions suddenly surged; I still don’t know whether this was because actual economic growth started to catch up with reported growth, or maybe China decided to confess CO2 emissions they had previously been concealing.