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HomeClimate ChangeThink Tank Urges G20 Action as China's Coal Emissions Rise

Think Tank Urges G20 Action as China’s Coal Emissions Rise


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In a recent report published by Ember, a prominent climate think tank, it has been revealed that China has witnessed a significant increase in harmful emissions from coal power,

surpassing all other G20 nations on a per capita basis between 2015 and 2022. This alarming trend contradicts the efforts of most G20 countries, which managed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions from coal-generated electricity during this period.


Key findings from the report:


China’s Emissions Surge: China’s per capita carbon dioxide emissions from coal power soared to 3.10 tonnes per person in 2022, marking a 30 percent increase from 2.38 tonnes in 2015. This increment of 0.72 tonnes was the highest among the six G20 nations where emissions rose during the seven-year span.


Global Ranking: China’s per capita emissions in 2022 ranked it as the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide from coal power, behind Australia and South Korea, with 4.14 tonnes and 3.27 tonnes per person, respectively. In 2015, China was sixth in this ranking.


Global Comparison: China’s per-person emissions in 2022 were nearly double the G20 member average of 1.6 tonnes and nearly three times the global average of 1.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person.


Other G20 Nations: Twelve G20 nations experienced a decline in per capita emissions as they transitioned toward cleaner energy sources. Australia and South Korea, despite achieving reductions of 26 percent and 10 percent since 2015, remained the top emitters in 2022.


Ember’s global insights lead, Dave Jones, emphasized the role of mature economies like South Korea and Australia in phasing out coal power by 2030, a move essential to combat climate change effectively.


The report underscores concerns about China’s future ranking in emissions and calls for significant progress to reduce coal power. It also highlights the challenges posed by India’s rising coal power emissions.


As the world grapples with climate change, the report’s release coincides with the G20 summit in New Delhi, where leaders gather to address pressing issues, including climate change. Despite these discussions, consensus on transformative climate actions among G20 economies, which account for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, remains elusive.


Ember’s report calls on G20 member countries to set and commit to more ambitious targets, including tripling their renewables capacity by 2030 and outlining plans for coal phase-out. The urgency of such actions is emphasized, as the pace of transition to renewable energy, despite progress, falls short of the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit needed to avert environmental catastrophe.


In conclusion, the Ember think tank report sheds light on China’s alarming increase in coal emissions, reinforcing the need for accelerated global efforts to transition to clean energy sources and combat climate change effectively. The report’s call to action at the G20 summit underscores the critical role that major economies must play in leading the charge toward a sustainable future.

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