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Energy and Climate Change

What do we know about emission trends in China?

Question and Answer | 28-01-2016

China’s emission trends greatly influence global emissions, as China currently emits almost a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

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After a decade of very high annual growth rates of global CO2 emissions of 4% on average, followed by two years of slowdown to about 1%, the growth in emissions almost stalled in 2014 with an increase of only 0.5% to 35.7 billion tonnes (Gt) CO2.

Uncertain data

Estimates of Chinese emissions are very uncertain as they depend on tentative data on coal consumption and emission factors. Official emissions data, therefore, have been revised several times.

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Future trends in emissions are very uncertain, as well: they depend on GDP growth, emission intensity improvement, and non-fossil energy development.

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Change in per capita and per unit of GDP CO2 emissions for 1990–2014. The emissions are excluding LULUCF emissions (‘IPCC sector 5’).

More information about emission trends

PBL has collected information on emission levels and trends in the EDGAR database, together with with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. This information is presented in an infographic about global CO2-emissions.