China on track to comply with Paris Accord despite increasing emissions?

By Michael Bastasch

New greenhouse gas emissions data from the environmental group Greenpeace shows China is still on track to meet its pledge to fight global warming under the Paris Agreement.

Greenpeace found China’s carbon dioxide emissions were increasing at their fastest rate in seven years, based on Chinese government figures, the Financial Times reported.

Wait, that can’t be right. How is that in line with the Paris accord?

That’s because China’s Paris accord pledge was to “peak” emissions by 2030, meaning they could increase in the years leading up to then. China’s 4-percent uptick in emissions in the first quarter of 2018 is still in line with its Paris pledge.

China’s CO2 emissions increased 1.2 percent in 2017, despite peaking coal demand, largely because “of rising oil and gas demand,” the International Energy Agency reported in March.

News of rising emissions in China comes a day before the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump announcing he would withdraw from the Paris accord. The U.S. is still technically part of the Paris agreement until at least 2019.

Trump said the Paris accord put the U.S. at a disadvantage by allowing countries, like China and India, to increase their emissions.

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” Trump said outside the White House in 2017.

“They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us,” said Trump, referring to China and India.

Rather ironically, China rebuffed Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord, which the Obama administration joined in 2016.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said “his country remained committed to the fight against climate change and to participating in international efforts for a greener world,” The New York Times reported in 2017.

The Paris accord aims to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, but allows countries to set their own emissions reduction goals. China promised to “peak” its emissions by 2030 and to reduce its emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) — although the latter goal was crafted to inflate China’s actual emissions reductions.

Now, Chinese emissions are rising again after flatlining for a few years. China’s economy is coming out of a slight recession and energy demand is once again increasing.

“China is fundamentally critical for what happened to global emissions,” Niklas Höhne of the New Climate Institute told the Financial Times.

“The outlook for 2018 is actually bad,” Höhne said. “One major goal of the Paris agreement is that global emissions peak as soon as possible, and China is the one that determines in the end whether global emissions will peak soon or not. That is why all eyes are on China.”

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/dwross
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4 thoughts on “China on track to comply with Paris Accord despite increasing emissions?

  1. Greenpeace?! Now there’s a reliable source of information.The NY Times is less biased.

  2. So it is in China’s best interest to increase emissions as much as possible for the next twelve years so the reduction will be easier to obtain. And then, if the GDP increases enough, the ‘required reduction’ will still be an increase. Of course, when the time comes, there is no reason to think they’ll do anything about it anyway. That Obummer was one great negotiator.

    • RWHolden
      The Transpacific Trade Agreement, also negotiated by Obama, would have been another major setback for us workers.
      No wonder the other countries such as Japan, etc., were so upset.
      They saw trillions of dollars of lucrative trade, for them, being nixed.

      NAFTA is similarly one sided.
      It enables the EU to bypass US law by producing goods in Canada and Mexico and importing them duty free into the US.
      Canada and Mexico are rewarded by the EU with beneficial bi lateral trade agreements, the major aim of which is to fleece the US.

      The US people are hopelessly naive about international trade.
      The US has been out negotiated for since GATT 1, and has the trade deficits to prove it.

  3. “That’s because China’s Paris accord pledge was to “peak” emissions by 2030, meaning they could increase in the years leading up to then. China’s 4-percent uptick in emissions in the first quarter of 2018 is still in line with its Paris pledge.”

    And that is exactly the reason Trump with drew from COP21. It was a very good deal for China, and India, but a very bad deal for the US.

    Obama, the community organizer, had approved the bad deal for the US.

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