China’s carbon dioxide emissions fell by a record 8 percent in the second quarter of 2022, a 230m tonne (MtCO2) reduction that is the largest in at least a decade.
The new analysis for Carbon Brief, based on official figures and commercial data, shows China’s emissions have now fallen year-on-year for four consecutive quarters, extending what was already the longest sustained decline in recent history.
The latest quarterly decline was driven by China’s ongoing real-estate slump, strict Covid control measures, weak growth in electricity demand and strong growth in renewable output.
China’s coal-fired power generation declined by 4 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2022, but saw an increase in July and August, due to record-breaking heatwaves and droughts in a large part of the country. This has not changed the more salient drivers of falling emissions.
The Chinese government is now responding to the economic headwinds the country faces with a new stimulus package that aims to revive real estate and speed up infrastructure projects, but will also benefit clean-energy investment.
This policy response will determine whether China’s emissions have already peaked or whether they will rebound before peaking later this decade.
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