China’s aggressive shift and investment into wind and solar power is yielding good results. A study carried out by two research institutes at the London School of Economics (LSE) noted that the use of renewables will prompt China’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to peak five years earlier than the set target.
Beijing had committed in November 2014 that the year 2030 will be the set timeframe its GHG emissions will peak. But the LSE report said China could reach this peak earlier by five years, or in 2025, noting the country’s coal consumption which fell in 2014 and in the first quarter of 2015.
Authors Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern, both from the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, said the world’s biggest carbon emitter will emit between 12.5 and 14 billion tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent in 2025. Then, emissions will already start to decline after that.
China had predominantly favored coal to fuel its growth. But its use of fuel resulted to severe air pollution in its cities and gave off massive emissions of GHG.
Green and Stern said China’s coal use has reached a “structural maximum.”
Labeled as the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, China committed to bring down its GHG emissions. Both Green and Stern described the 2030 target as a “best efforts” goal. It was more like “a conservative upper limit from a government that prefers to under-promise and over-deliver,” they said. Green said prevailing global GHG emissions are at 50 GtCO2e, where a quarter comes from China.
If the forecast peak and decline does happen earlier than expected, and as long as China makes sweeping reforms from cities to public transport, the world may be able to avoid the predicted global warming of more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.