When China, the world’s number one emitter of greenhouse gases, reduce their carbon dioxide emissions it is a monumental feat and a monumental saving for the Earth’s carbon budget. The world’s biggest CO2 emitter has succeeded in decoupling coal use from economic output since its coal consumption growth began to slow down in 2012.
Data recently released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics indicate that Chinese coal consumption fell by 2.9% in 2014. Just that reduction in China’s coal emissions alone is roughly the same as the UK’s entire emissions in the same time period.
If China’s coal decrease continues for the remainder of the year it would be the largest reduction in emissions by any single country. If China continue on this coal reducing track this will bring the Earth at large positive carbon dioxide savings.
China’s coal and thermal power generation are falling while renewable energies like hydro, wind, and solar are growing at impressive speeds. During 2014, China’s CO2 emissions from all fossil fuels fell by 0.7%. This is the first time that China's emissions have fallen while total energy consumption grew. China’s decoupling of economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions shows that green growth is possible!
All this positive news is especially welcome just months before the crucial UN Paris Summit, which hopes to reach a globally binding agreement on climate change.
The Chinese president Xi Jinping and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi two weeks ago issued a joint statement urging economically developed countries to honour their commitments on CO2 emissions and help developing countries cut their own emissions. China is clearly on the right path with respect to reducing coal, reducing carbon emissions, and in its commitment to the Paris Summit on climate change.
An analysis of the data by Greenpeace and Energydesk China suggests coal consumption in the world’s largest economy fell by almost 8% and CO2 emissions by around 5% in the first four months of the year, compared with the same period in 2014. The reduction in emissions from 2014 to 2015 is roughly equal to the total CO2 emissions of the UK over four months, and the reduction in coal use is equal to four times UK total consumption.