Report gives credit to government support for clean energy and public desire for change
China’s consistent efforts to transform into a low-carbon economy will help the country meet its climate change pledges made in Paris in December last year, according to a new report.
Alina Averchenkova, the lead author of the report and head of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, attributed China’s progress to strong government support for renewable energy development and public calls for clean air.
The report was released on Nov 15 ahead of the closing of the Climate Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, where representatives from more than 190 countries discussed the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
A concluding document from the conference calling for action is expected after it concludes.
Adnan Amin, director of the International Renewable Energy Agency, said China’s de-carbonizing process is sustainable, with an expected rise in demand for clean energy.
Global carbon emissions caused by fossil fuels remained flat for the third year in a row, thanks to declining coal use in China since 2012, a study published in the Earth System Science Data journal earlier this week showed.
China’s emissions from fossil fuels went down 0.7 percent last year and are projected to fall 0.5 percent this year, the study said.
Yang Fuqiang, a senior analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, expects coal use to be down by 1.5 to 2 percent this year.
“Not a sharp drop compared with several years ago, but coal usage will decline for sure,” Yang said.
By comparison, the United States, a major emitter, has not undertaken sufficient efforts to match its pledges, according to Averchenkova.
She said that the US, which lacks overall framework legislation or regulations on climate change, needs to put pledges to cut emissions into its economic development plan.
The study said bottom-up action could help to ratchet up ambition at the federal level, but US president-elect Donald Trump’s election adds uncertainties.
Bai Yunwen, a climate researcher at Greenovation Hub, said that Trump’s presidency would slow the pace of emissions cuts in the US.
“Additional government policies are needed,” she said.
Liu Zhenmin, Chinese vice-foreign minister and deputy head of the Chinese delegation, hoped the US can follow up on US President Barack Obama’s actions to combat climate change.
Liu added that the US played a vital role with China while sealing the Paris pact, and he expects the US to maintain momentum in the fight against climate change.