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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