Dec 28, 2021
Carbon emissions in China could peak two years earlier than planned as the economy slows and Beijing prioritizes renewable energy, according to a leading government think tank.China has pledged that CO2 will peak in 2030, a crucial inflection point on the road to net-zero emissions by 2060.
But the world biggest energy consumer could actually see emissions top out at around 11 billion tons in 2028, Guo Jiaofeng, a senior advisor at the Development Research Center of the State Council, said in an online seminar on Wednesday.
China is responsible for over a quarter of global emissions and its reluctance to set more ambitious targets, particularly around coal use, was a point of contention at the recent Glasgow climate talks.
However, weaker economic growth could put the brakes on emissions, which fell in the third quarter. China’s GDP growth may slow to 5.5% next year even as its transition away from fossil fuels speeds up, Yu Jiao, vice general manager of the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute Co., said at the same seminar.
The Development Research Center forecast that China’s total energy consumption will reach a plateau of 6 billion tons of standard coal in 2030. It expects coal demand to peak at 4.2 billion tons in 2025, followed by oil at 800 million tons in 2030, and gas at 650 billion cubic meters in 2040.