China’s failure to meet climate targets is expected due to an increase in CO2 emissions.

China’s failure to meet climate targets is expected due to an increase in CO2 emissions.

According to analysis, China has not met any of its main 2025 climate goals, even though clean energy is currently the primary factor driving the country’s economic advancement.

After years of extraordinarily rapid growth, China is now grappling with a slowdown that is causing ripples internally and internationally. The government has supercharged the growth of the renewable energy industry but it has simultaneously poured stimulus funds into construction and manufacturing, and continues to approve coal power.

In 2023, China experienced a 5.7% rise in overall energy usage, marking the first time since 2005 that energy demand outpaced its GDP growth. Despite a 5.2% economic growth in the past year, this rate is considered modest compared to earlier periods of expansion.

2 emissions are projected to increase by 1.5%

Despite a decline in economic growth, carbon dioxide emissions have persisted in increasing. This can be attributed to the energy-intensive nature of China’s economic growth during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. It is estimated that CO2 emissions will rise by 1.5% between 2021 and 2023.2

Between the years 2016 and 2020, emissions increased by an average of 3.8% annually, which is higher than the previous rate of 0.9%. During this time, there was a slight decrease in GDP growth.

The results were released in a study by Carbon Brief, led by Lauri Myllyvirta, a top analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).

2 are emitted for every dollar of economic output

According to the Paris accord, China’s commitment to addressing climate change involves meeting various objectives by 2025. These include reaching a 20% usage of renewable energy sources and decreasing the carbon intensity of the economy by 18%. Carbon intensity measures the amount of CO2 emitted per dollar of economic production.2

One kilowatt hour of electricity is generated.

2 emissions from energy use increased by

Unfortunately, Myllyvirta’s assessment revealed that China has not met many of its targets, largely due to the high amount of carbon emissions produced during recent economic growth. The usage of energy has also led to an increase in CO2 emissions.2

According to Myllyvirta, in order to reach the government’s 2025 goal, emissions must decrease by approximately 4% to 6%.

One reason for the issue is that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the government provided economic assistance to the construction and manufacturing industries. According to Myllyvirta, this caused a shift towards more carbon-intensive growth. Meanwhile, other countries focused on supporting households, which led to increased demand for consumer goods and a rise in exports from China.

Myllyvirta stated that it is possible to reverse the economic impacts and emissions caused by zero-Covid measures, especially with an increased focus on clean energy.

2 emissions

Approximately one percent of China’s carbon dioxide emissions.2

The increase in emissions during the previous year was primarily driven by the production of renewable energy technologies like solar panels, electric cars, and batteries. In the end, these products will contribute to a decrease in overall emissions, but some of the effects will be felt globally as they are exported outside of China.

One of the difficulties in comprehending China’s energy transformation is that the figures in each industry hold global significance. While the International Energy Agency reports that China installed equal amounts of solar PV in 2023 as the rest of the world did in 2022, the country’s energy consumption has increased at a fast pace, surpassing the additions of clean energy.

Given the current rise in energy needs, there is a need for non-fossil energy sources to increase by over 11% each year in order to reach the 2025 goal. At the moment, renewable energy production is only growing at a rate of 8.5% annually. In 2023, China’s economy saw a $1.6 trillion contribution from clean energy, which accounted for all of the investment growth.

2 emissions from China’s economy are still increasing

China has set a goal to decrease the carbon intensity of their economy by 18% by 2025. However, as of 2020, they have only achieved a 5% reduction. This means that their economy is still producing increasing amounts of CO2 emissions.2

To reach the goal, there must be a decrease in emissions between 2023 and 2025.

In 2023, China’s renewable energy capacity, as reported by the National Energy Administration, surpassed 1.45 billion kilowatts, making up more than half of the nation’s overall installed power generation capacity.

However, a different study released on Thursday by CREA revealed that China granted approval for 114 gigawatts (GW) of coal-powered energy in 2023, an increase from 104 GW in 2022. This resulted in China accounting for over 64% of global coal emissions in 2023.

2 emissions may not need to be urgently reduced

Ever since Xi Jinping, the current leader of China, promised to “firmly regulate” the development of new coal power in 2021, the number of approved coal projects has actually risen at a fast pace. Around half of the growth in power production from 2020 to 2023 can be attributed to coal. This is due in part to the belief held by certain thermal power developers and government officials that this decade presents a chance to prioritize economic growth over urgent reductions in CO2 emissions.2

China is anticipated to reach its emissions target by 2025, even though Xi has pledged that they will not peak until 2030.

Local municipalities, specifically those in mining regions, frequently depend on investments in coal mines and thermal power plants to increase their GDP numbers.

According to Myllyvirta, there has been a significant increase in the use of coal and in the approval of new coal power plants since President Xi’s promises in 2021. This goes against the pledges made by China and they must take decisive action in 2024-25 in order to honor these commitments.