It appears that China’s promise to lower the emissions of greenhouse gas might take place even earlier than expected, since its levels of pollution peaked only two years ago, in 2014. However, the country has denied these claims.
Last year, China signed a pact in Paris for cutting gas emission in the next fifteen years. The plan is for the emissions to peak in 2030 and then gradually decline. However, a study released last Monday proves that the country has already reached its peak in 2014, and is currently in decline or stable.
A new paper written by economists Nicholas Stern and Fergus Green from London School of Economics and Political Science points out that the international commitment of China to peak emissions sometime near 2030 could reach its purpose even earlier since its government is known to “under-promise and over-deliver”.
Even if the great news means that pollution levels will decrease sooner than expected, China has denied the claims. To what purpose? The country might be pressured into more ambitious goals, and its government most probably does not want to deal with it at the moment.
According to Todd Stern, U.S. climate change envoy,
“It will be up to the Chinese government whether they increase their target, but there will obviously be a lot of international opinion looking forward to additional measures – whether it is China or anyone else.”
On the other side, carbon researcher Xi Fengming and Chinese climate change envoy Xie Zhenhua have stated that the decline in emissions has been recorded because of the economic slowdown, and not the emissions peak in 2014. Furthermore, Xie claims that the country’s carbon dioxide emissions are currently increasing.
However, economists predict that if an increase takes place, it will be so small that it will not affect the whole process, and thus the peak will be reached before 2025. Both Stern and Green have agreed that China’s CO2 emissions will grow slowly under the economic model.
China went through an economic surge between 2000 and 2013, and thus had to consume high amounts of coal, which subsequently lead to massive levels of carbon dioxide emissions. Since the development has slowed down, so have the levels of pollution. This is also happening because the demand for natural gas and oil has diminished.
Whether China will meet its goal sooner than planned remains to be seen, but all the evidence and the studies seem to be right at the moment.
Image Source: China Mike
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