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China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emission emitter, will be the key to the global action to fight carbon emissions and climate change, leading environmental economist Lord Nicholas Stern said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“We are at a critical point now where the decisions that shape the world will be taken in China,” Lord Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said, as carried by the NS Business outlet.
According to Lord Stern, China needs to reduce its reliance on coal, which continues to drive emissions despite the massive uptake of renewable energy sources.
Despite a rise in renewables, China continues to expand its coal-fired plant fleet, and although Beijing continues with its coal-to-gas switch policy, its coal capacity will continue to grow in the coming years.
According to the BP Energy Outlook 2019, coal demand in China peaked in 2013, but the country will remain the world’s largest consumer of coal throughout the next two decades, accounting for 39 percent of global coal demand in 2040. Carbon emissions in China are expected to peak in 2022, as per BP’s estimates.
China has pledged that its total CO2 emissions would peak by 2030 and its carbon intensity would fall sharply by then.
China’s greenhouse gas emissions jumped by 53.5 percent in the decade between 2005 and 2014, according to Chinese government figures that Beijing is obliged to report as a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Carbon emissions data from China is opaque, but the country is required to regularly report data to the United Nations. China has previously reported carbon emission data for 2005 and 2010.
According to a Greenpeace analysis on Chinese data, China’s CO2 emissions rose by some 3 percent in 2018, which was the biggest rise since at least 2013.
Climate Action Tracker rates China’s commitment to action as “highly insufficient” and not at all consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.