Just The Facts

Can China Slow and Reverse its Carbon Output?

The world’s largest source of CO2 emissions finds slow going in cleaning up energy.

Photo Credit: TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • In 2006, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest source of CO2 emissions.
  • In 2013, China produced 10.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions, nearly double the amount generated by the United States.
  • With its rapidly growing economy, China’s CO2 emissions may not peak until as late as 2030.

1. China emits 7.4 tons of CO2 emissions per person — 50% higher than the global average.

2. China’s per capita emissions are the 43rd highest worldwide, ranking between two European nations — the United Kingdom and Denmark.

3. In 2006, almost a decade ago, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest source of CO2 emissions.

4. In 2013, China produced 10.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions, nearly double the amount generated by the United States.

5. Part of the reason for China’s high overall emissions is its intensive reliance on coal.

6. China derives 67% of its energy from coal — more than twice the global average.

7. Accounting for 30% of global CO2 emissions, China’s emissions are more than six times higher than in 1980, when it first began its move to a market-based economy.

8. With its rapidly growing economy, China’s CO2 emissions may not peak until as late as 2030.

9. This is true despite the country’s rapid installation of hydro, solar and wind power generating capacity.

10. US and China both formally joined the Paris global climate agreement ahead of the G20 summit in the city of Hangzhou in September 2016.

Data Source: Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research

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Responses to “Can China Slow and Reverse its Carbon Output?”

Archived Comments.

  1. On October 6, 2016 at 9:43 am Nikola Tasev responded with... #

    Considering the coal use in China is falling, and utilization of coal power plants is falling as well, I think this article is a bit misleading. Yes, coal share is still 67%, and yes, this is abnormally large. The context is the coal share of power generation was 81% in 2007, and is falling every year.
    As China’s economy moves from manufacturing to services, and curbs overcapacity in coal and steel production, its energy use will decrease, or at least stay flat. I don’t see why it can’t peak its emissions before 2020.

  2. On October 8, 2016 at 6:51 am 20eric responded with... #

    Would be interesting to know which Tonne is meant? The metric and only tonne understood world wide is expressed as t . Time for the Yanks to join the metric world.
    As to China’s high CO2 emissions it would be fair to mention that China does a hell of a lot of the dirty work (production) for the advanced nations!