Climate change

China’s carbon emissions fell in first three quarters, says official

Level of emissions per unit of economic growth dipped by about four per cent, says climate change chief at government’s economic planning agency

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 December, 2017, 4:12pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 December, 2017, 4:12pm

China’s carbon intensity – the level of carbon emissions per unit of economic growth – fell about four per cent in the first three quarters of 2017, putting the country on track to meet its five-year targets, a senior official said.

China vowed to cut 2015 levels of carbon intensity by 18 per cent by the end of 2020, part of a longer-term pledge to bring total greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by “around 2030”.

Li Gao, the head of the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission, told a conference that China had made clear progress in decoupling economic growth from carbon emissions.

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Li said in a report published on the website of China’s National Energy Administration late on Thursday that China was also still aiming to complete the launch of a nationwide carbon emissions trading scheme.

China’s national trading scheme was originally expected to go into operation last year, but was delayed to 2017 as market designers struggled to handle problems like emissions data accuracy.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate official, said during global climate negotiations in Bonn that the scheme was now awaiting cabinet approval.

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Several studies have suggested that China is on track to meet its emissions peak target well ahead of schedule, with Chinese scientists saying in a paper in the Resources, Conservation and Recycling journal that China’s CO2 could hit its maximum in 2024.

A Chinese think tank has also suggested that national energy consumption – the source of about three quarters of China’s carbon emissions – may also have peaked.