China’s annual emissions exceeded those of all developed nations combined in 2019, the very first time this has happened since federal greenhouse gas emissions are measured, according to a new report from the Rhodium Group.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to make his country carbon neutral by 2060, and climate policy is seen as a significant field of cooperation — as well as competition — between the USA and China.
But the new report highlights how hard reducing China’s effect on the climate might be.
According to the investigators, global emissions attained 52 gigatons of CO2-equivalent in 2019, an increase of 11.4% over the last ten years. And China’s share is growing quickly.
While China’s emissions were under a quarter of developed country emissions in 1990, they’ve more than tripled over the past three decades, the report said.
“China alone contributed over 27% of total global emissions, far exceeding the US — that the second greatest emitter — that contributed 11% of the global total,” the report said. “For the first time, India edged the EU-27 for third place, coming in at 6.6percent of global emissions.”
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China is a large country, with a population of 1.4 billion, and up to now its per capita emissions have remained considerably lower than those in the developed world, the researchers note. But that, too, is shifting quickly.
“At 2019, China’s per capita emissions reached 10.1 tons, almost tripling over the past two decades,” the report stated.
While they stayed lower in 2019 than the US — 17.6 heaps a person — that the report predicts that when full 2020 information can be obtained , China’s per capita output signal will have overtaken the OECD average of 10.5 tons, even as the emissions”from nearly all other nations declined sharply in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Nonetheless, China still has a way to go before it catches up with the total amount of carbon dioxide that’s been spewed into the air by developed nations.
Greenhouse gases accumulate in the air such as a blanket, trapping radiation which would otherwise escape into space. This causes temperatures on Earth to rise, which can be connected to more extreme weather, ice melt and also a rise in sea levels. And the carbon monoxide into the air, the longer the world will heat.