● By Prof. John Mathews and Dr. Hao Tan, University of Newcastle ●
“As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country.” – US Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, November 12, 2014.
Far from “doing nothing”, China will be building the world’s largest renewable energy system over the next 16 years. This is something that China has already started doing – so the targets agreed upon are feasible, if arduous.
As part of the US-China climate deal announced on Wednesday, China is committing to raise the proportion of renewables in its total energy system to 20%. As renewables and nuclear power currently account for 10% of China’s total energy consumption, this implies a doubling of its renewables commitment. The challenge is illustrated in the graph below.Energy use from zero-emission sources in China. Authors, Author provided
This is why Chinese president Xi Jinping can commit China to peaking its carbon emissions by 2030. In reality, we and many other observers expect China’s carbon emissions to peak well before that date, so there is room for more dramatic announcements to come from the Chinese side.
In fact, at the recent APEC meeting in Beijing, China’s national Energy Bureau stated that China’s coal consumption would probably peak by 2020, at about 4.2 billion tonnes per year. So carbon emissions could peak just a little after that – and certainly before 2030.
Mitch McConnell and many other commentators have placed all their emphasis on China’s building of a “black” energy system, comprising new coal and other fossil fuel facilities, while ignoring the enormous commitments already made to renewables and a complementary green energy system ...Zum vollständigen Artikel