China’s carbon emissions are on track to rise at their fastest pace in more than seven years during 2018, casting further doubt on the ability of the Paris climate change agreement to curb dangerous greenhouse gas increases, according to a Greenpeace analysis based on Beijing’s own data. Carbon emissions in the country, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, rose 4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, according to calculations by the environmental group based on Chinese government statistics covering coal, cement, oil and gas. If that pace continues it would be the fastest increase since 2011.
The latest finding comes as climate researchers express concern over rising emissions in China, which accounts for more than a quarter of global carbon dioxide output. Global emissions were flat from 2014-16 but began rising again in 2017 as the Chinese economy recovered and as emission grew in the EU and the rest of Asia. Scientists are concerned the trend in China will continue this year. “China is fundamentally critical for what happened to global emissions,” said Niklas Höhne, a partner at the New Climate Institute and one of the scientists who contributes to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.