Clean energy transition helps China shortcut to emission peak


As leaders of the world’s major economies declared their intention to support a 100 per cent renewable transition overnight, news that China could deliver its pledged emission peak by 2025 – five years earlier than promised – should inject even more momentum into this weeks UN climate negotiations in Bonn. Considering recent cuts to coal use in China have already led to emissions reductions equivalent to the UK’s total figure, peaking its emission could “greatly increases prospects” for keeping global average warming within the internationally agreed red line of 2DegC. According to the Grantham Institute study at the centre of the news, China’s “new normal” – a new development model based on structural economic changes and a massive commitment to renewables – are boosting a “remarkably rapid shift” in the nation’s emission trajectory. Chronic air pollution has 98 per cent of its people people calling for action, and China is listening. Its transformation will have ripple effects for the global economy, and those who absurdly refuse to join the inevitable clean energy transition such as Canada and Japan, are putting their people’s lives, access to green jobs, and economic growth at risk. As China is preparing its climate pledges (INDC) for Paris to struck a deal that signals world’s concerted efforts to act on climate change, the study should give China’s government, which is used to “underpromising and overdelivering”, enough confidence to raise its ambition.


MT@planamikebarry: China’s massive investment in renewables paying off, GHG emissions could peak 2025


Key Points

  • Momentum for a strong climate deal in Paris is growing rapidly, with the G7, business leaders and now the world’s largest carbon emitter seen to be moving faster than ever to clean up emissions. As China is breaking up with coal at an unprecedented rate, with resulting emissions reductions equivalent to the UK’s total amount, and the coal imports dropped by 38 per cent five months in a row, a latest study by London School of Economics finds that China is likely to peak emission by 2025, five years earlier than promised, which suggests the world is more likely to keep global warming below 2 DegC. As leaders of the richest countries, businesses and investors have signaled their vision for a carbon-free future this week, the prospect that China could save world another five years in the transition should give negotiators more confidence to find common ground for a deal with strong climate commitment.
  • China’s growing action to clean up its act means better economic growth, improved public health, more green jobs, and a safer climate. Desire for a better growth is boosting China’s transition from old dirty fossil fuels to clean energies. According to separate reports from China Coal Cap project, IRENA and NewClimate Institute, energy transition could save lives, generate more green jobs, and build a more resilient economy. And government think tank also laid out the roadmap in a recent study for China to achieve up to 60 per cent renewables in the total energy mix by 2050.
  • Like G7 countries, China is moving increasingly fast towards a clean future. Laggards like Canada, Australia and Japan will need to catch up to avoid political, economic and environmental decline. In a carbon-constrained world, there is simply no space left for coal, whose poor performance makes a simple and clear case. The G7 has seen the inevitable and are seizing the opportunity to act now, and those that chose to ignore the unequivocal science, as well as growing support from the public and businesses, are risking their people and next generations of an equal access to a healthy, prosperous and low-carbon


Media Coverage


Tools & Resources

Key Quotes

  • “Air pollution has really shot to the top of public attention. The leadership in China have placed a really strong emphasis on tackling it, and – that’s having an effect in terms of energy supply.” – Fergus Green, Co-auther of the report, Policy Analyst and Research Advisor at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • “It is important that governments, businesses and citizens everywhere understand this fundamental change in China, reflect on their own ambitions on climate change, and adjust upwards expectations about the global market potential for low-carbon and environmental goods and services.” – Lord Stern, Professor at the London School of Economics, and his co-author, Fergus Green, Policy Analyst and Research Advisor at the Grantham Research Institute

Related Tree Alerts

More Tweets