China's carbon emissions trend after the pandemic

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    Abstract

    Is China on a path to peak its greenhouse gas emissions in the near future as it has pledged under the Paris Treaty? We compare carbon emissions and energy production trends in the first eight months of 2019 and the first eight months of 2023. The former period represents typical conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic, while the latter is the first period after China removed most COVID-19 related restrictions in December 2022. Carbon emissions increased by 10 % over this period or an average of 2.95 million tonnes per day, while emissions from the power sector, where decarbonization efforts might be expected to be first focused, increased by 21 %. Though renewable energy production has increased significantly, the production of fossil fuels continues to grow strongly. Coal production in the first eight months of 2023 grew at a compound rate of 6.1 % per annum since the corresponding period in 2019, and the share of coal in the total energy mix also increased for the first time since 2007, by 0.2 %, between 2021 and 2022. Therefore, there is little sign of “growing back greener”. Going forward, the changing geopolitical environment may further impede China's emissions peaking.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Challenges
    Volume13
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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