A surge in China’s output of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the second half of last year pushed the country’s emissions above their 2019 total, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, new analysis for Carbon Brief shows. While emissions fell approximately 3% in the first half of the year amid lockdowns, the second half made up for lost time, with emissions climbing more than 4%. In total across 2020, CO2 emissions increased by 1.5% compared with 2019, based on analysis of the country’s annual statistical communique. China’s return to economic growth after its first Covid-19 lockdown has relied on stimulating polluting sectors, such as construction and heavy industry. This saw the country’s consumption of coal, oil and gas all growing dramatically in the second half of the year, despite the pandemic and the government’s new pledge to target carbon neutrality by 2060. The new data highlights the significance of China’s new five-year plan targets, due to be released at the annual legislative session starting on Friday. The plan is unlikely to set targets that would stop the growth in CO2 emissions, but is likely to slow it down.
Carbon Brief 1st March 2021 read more »