While some analysts thought that China would cut its emissions in 2040 it is already starting to actually take place, and in an impressive way as new analyses have shown.
Indeed, to a study published by Greenpeace and Energydesk China, and quoted by Climate Progress, the largest greenhouse gases emitter in the world has seen that ”
in the first four months of 2015, China’s coal use fell almost 8 percent compared to the same period last year — a reduction in emissions that’s approximately equal to the total carbon dioxide emissions of the U.K. over the same period.
China had reduced its coal output by 6.1 percent in the first four months of 2015. The research team calculated that the drop in coal use translates into a nearly 5 percent drop in domestic CO2 emissions.
Five percent less than last year on the same period ! This is what happens when a country is determined to truly tackle both local air pollution and global climate change.
What if this continued like this ? The country is closing small inefficient plants and building new more efficcient ones that have more stringent pollution norms.
Meanwhile, China is also planting million of trees to help counter coal pollution. To Quartz :
Reforestation efforts in China, combined with regrowth on abandoned farmland in Russia, have helped offset 81% of the loss in above-ground biomass carbon lost to tropical deforestation since 2003, according to a new study in the academic journal Nature Climate Change.
“The increase in vegetation primarily came from a lucky combination of environmental and economic factors and massive tree-planting projects in China,” said lead study author Yi Liu of Australia’s University of New South Wales. Liu said that the carbon storage in Chinese forests increased by about 0.8 billion tons (0.72 billion tonnes) between 2003 and 2012.
Scientific American doubles down on the latter project :
After improving energy efficiency, piloting emissions trading and ramping up renewable energy expansion, China has also been moving on another frontier needed to help ease global warming.
According to a study published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change, the total amount of carbon stored in all living biomass above the soil has increased globally by almost 4 billion tons since 2003, with China contributing in a notable way to the increase.
(…) China’s Green Great Wall—formally known as the “Three-North Shelter Forest Programme”—is regarded by some experts as the largest ecological engineering project on the planet. Since 1978, at least 100,000 square miles of forests have been planted by Chinese citizens across the arid north, in an effort to hold back the creeping Gobi Desert.
Once the project is completed in 2050, a massive belt of trees will stretch from northwestern China’s Xinjiang through several northern regions to the country’s northeastern part, Heilongjiang province.
Sure, China is a long way from completely stopping its greenhouse gases from increasing overall. The demand for energy is still huge there as the country still manufactures a lot of things for other countries.
But this article makes me actually confident that we can stop climate change, or at least the most dangerous part. I just wish the European Union and the United States ( among others ) would act as boldly as China is doing nowadays on climate change.