China now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions


by Tim Willmott : Comments Off on China now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions

China has surpassed the US as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is responsible for around a quarter of global emissions, according to a new report from WWF-China, written by energy consultancy Ecofys.

‘It’s Time to Peak’ says that Chinese companies will need to reduce direct GHG emissions of their operations by up to 2.7% a year if China is to stay on track with the level of action required to keep global warming well below 2C. The electricity sector will need to show a decline of about 8% a year.

As reported by 2degrees, many Chinese companies are already well aware of climate change risks and are taking steps to strengthen their climate resilience and investments in a low carbon future. However, the recent CDP China 100 Climate Change Report 2014 says that the number of Chinese companies committing to absolute or intensity based GHG reduction targets remains limited. Only 16% of companies investigated set targets for emissions reduction, of which only two disclosed the scope of their absolute target, base year, and target year and emission reduction with details.

The report sets out a number of targets based on an analysis of existing scenarios for China and shows how a combination of management and behavioral changes, energy efficiency, increased use of low carbon energy and other resources can bring China on a 2 degrees pathway.

Findings in the report include:

  • CO2 emissions represent about three quarters of China’s total GHG emissions and the corporate sector represents about three quarters of those emissions, so around half of China’s total GHG emissions.
  • The corporate sector’s CO2 emissions are very much dominated by a few very energy and emissions intensive industries. Non-metallic minerals (of which cement is by far the largest contributor), iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and petrochemicals, and paper pulp and printing in total contribute to roughly two-thirds of the corporate sector’s CO2 emissions.
  • China’s corporate community (excluding utilities) should take on annual emissions intensity reduction targets  to bring China on a deep decarbonization pathway.
  • China’s power sector in its turn should start reducing the emissions intensity of electricity production with as much as 8% per year to reach a very low carbon power mix towards the middle of this century.

China’s industrial and business sector will be seriously affected by rising temperature levels, claims the report. Issues with water supply, disruption in the supply chains, rising energy, commodity and insurance costs are all likely to result.

At the same time, the corporate sector is pivotal in combating climate change. The corporate sector was responsible for well over half of the global GHG emissions in 2010. It is time for the global business community to act.

Download the report.


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