According to new data, China’s coal demand fell by 2.9% in 2014, and carbon emissions could peak earlier than predicted.
New data from the Chinese government highlight that even though China still heavily relies on coal (which accounted for 66% of energy consumption in 2014) coal demand fell by 2.9% during the last year. According to Jiang Kejun, a scientist at the Energy Research Institute of Beijing, this trend will continue in the coming decade, when most energy intensive products will reach their production peak and there will be a slowdown in growth of energy demand.
The fell in coal consumption determined also a decrease in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, even though it’s yet unclear by how much China’s emissions have reduced; also, it’s yet to be clarified whether the country’s demand for coal has truly peaked, as 2014 could just represent an anomalous year, but what’s certain is that coal growth has slowed over the past two years, while the economy kept growing.
Pursuant to an agreement signed with the US in 2014, China’s emissions will have to peak before 2030, but Jiang Kejun believes that this goal should be reached by 2025 in order to avoid warming of above 2°C; according to the scientist, this will require energy intensive industries to start cutting their products’ carbon intensity, and would also need major investments in alternative energies such as wind, solar, gas and nuclear.
China is expected to soon issue its 13th Five Year Plan (FYP), which will determine whether the country’s efforts in reducing emissions will continue; current goals include cutting energy intensity by 16% below 2010 levels by 2015 and increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix to 15% by 2020.
Beijing’s decisions will affect the entire world, especially because China is a huge importer of coal from overseas, and its imports already fell by 10.9% in 2014.
The gLAWcal Team
Tuesday, 3 March 2015