CHRISTINA LARSON, AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – China, the world’s largest polluter of carbon dioxide, which has caused global warming, has seen a noticeable drop in its emissions over the past three quarters, but it is unclear how long the decline will continue.
A new analysis of China’s economic data shows that carbon emissions fell by 1.4% in the first three months of the year, down for the third consecutive quarter – and the longest decline in a decade.
The downward trend began last year and accelerated further over the winter. The decline continued, but this spring was milder.
It is unclear whether Chinese emissions will continue to fall this year. Over the past decade, five short falls have been followed by re-emissions.
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The recent decline in emissions in China was due to reduced production in the cement, steel and energy industries and measures to prevent COVID, according to an analysis by Lauri Myllyvirt, a Finnish climate and energy analyst at the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research. .
“Steel and cement are China’s second and third largest emission sectors, and demand for both sectors is largely driven by construction activity,” but changes in real estate lending and debt policy have at least temporarily reduced the construction sector, Myllyvirta wrote in the analysis. for Carbon Brief.
Whether China will meet its long-term goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2060 depends largely on what is happening in its energy sector.
And that depends on how quickly the second largest economy in the world can move away from coal.
Chinese leaders recently doubled their plans to promote energy on coal and called for an increase in coal production capacity by 300 million tonnes this year, or 7% compared to last year.
Li Shuo, a senior global policy adviser at Greenpeace, told the Associated Press in April that economic concerns, including those related to China’s policy without COVID-19, mean Chinese leaders have given priority to energy security over moving away from fossil fuels. , At least in the short term.
“This energy security mindset has become predominant and predominant over carbon neutrality,” he said.
China is currently the largest producer of carbon in the world, although other countries, such as the United States, have contributed a larger share of historical emissions.
China’s carbon emissions increased by 750 megatons in the two-year period between 2019 and 2021, leading to a global rise in carbon emissions after the first phase of the pandemic, according to the non-profit Paris International Energy Agency.
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