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Analysis: Record drop in China’s CO2 emissions needed to meet 2025 target

(CarbonBrief, 22 Feb 2024) China’s energy sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased 5.2% in 2023, meaning a record fall of 4-6% is needed by 2025 to meet the government’s “carbon intensity” target.

The new analysis for Carbon Brief, based on official figures and commercial data, shows rapid electricity demand growth and weak rains boosted demand for coal power in 2023, while the rebound from zero-Covid boosted demand for oil.

Other key findings from the analysis include:

  • China’s CO2 emissions have now increased by 12% between 2020 and 2023, after a highly energy- and carbon-intensive response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • This means CO2 emissions would need to fall by 4-6% by 2025, in order to meet the target of cutting China’s carbon intensity – its CO2 emissions per unit of economic output – by 18% during the 14th five-year plan period.
  • China is also at risk of missing all of its other key climate targets for 2025, including pledges to “strictly limit” coal demand growth and “strictly control” new coal power capacity, as well as targets for energy intensity, the share of low-carbon energy in overall demand and the share of renewables in energy demand growth.
  • Government pressure to hit the targets, most of which are in China’s updated international climate pledge under the Paris Agreement, makes it more likely that China’s CO2 emissions will peak before 2025 – far earlier than its target of peaking “before 2030”.

External link

CarbonBrief, 22 Feb 2024: Analysis: Record drop in China’s CO2 emissions needed to meet 2025 target