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China on Track with Emission Reduction Targets

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2023-11-21 14:15:53 | Author: QI Liming

Hydrogen storage tank installation area in China. (PHOTO: VCG)

Edited by QI Liming

According to the report Analysis: China's emissions set to fall in 2024 after record growth in clean energy released on Carbon Brief website on November 13, "China's carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions are set to fall in 2024 and could be facing structural decline, due to record growth in the installation of new low-carbon energy sources." That's according to Lauri Myllyvirta, a lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the author of the report.

Structural emissions to decline

According to The Guardian, in recent weeks, the International Energy Agency said that the worldwide emissions from all energy sources, including fossil fuels used for heating and fuels, could peak in 2025 before starting to decline in a historic turning point for the energy industry.

The findings of Myllyvirta's report support forecasts from energy experts that emissions from global electricity generation could reach a peak in 2023 before a peak in all energy emissions in 2024.

A report by climate think tank Ember, released in October, found that the growth of renewables was so rapid that it was close to the rate required for the world to triple its capacity by the end of the decade to meet climate targets.

According to Carbon Brief website's report, China's CO₂ emissions have seen growth over the past 20 years, and there have also been record additions of low-carbon capacity, setting up a surge in electricity generation in 2024.

With the power sector being China's second-largest emitter and other major sectors, such as cement and steel, already seeing CO₂ falling, this drop could drive a sustained, structural emissions decline for the country as a whole.

"This is because, for the first time, the rate of low-carbon energy expansion is now sufficient to not only meet, but exceed the average annual increase in China's demand for electricity overall," said Myllyvirta.

If this pace is maintained, or accelerated, it would mean that China's electricity generation from fossil fuels would enter a period of structural decline, which would also be a first.

Undisputable driver in renewable energy expansion

As Myllyvirta's report said, a historic expansion of low-carbon energy installations has been seen in 2023. The most striking growth has being seen in solar power, where expected installations in 2023 with some 210 gigawatts (GW), are twice the total installed capacity of solar power in the U.S. and four times what China added in 2020.

The newly installed solar, wind, hydro and nuclear capacity added in 2023 alone will generate an estimated 423 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, equal to the total electricity consumption of France.

In addition to the electricity generated by this newly added capacity, China is likely to see a large year-on-year increase in output from its massive hydropower fleet in 2024.

"All in all, 210GW of solar, 70GW of wind, 7GW hydro and 3GW of nuclear are expected to be added in China in 2023," Myllyvirta concluded.

According to CNBC, China is recognized as the undisputable global leader in renewable energy expansion, adding new projects to the grid of almost as many as the rest of the world combined in 2022.

There is no doubt that China's progress in scaling up clean energy contributes to the structure adjustment of global energy. "When we look around the world today, we can firmly see that the energy transition is in progress," said Mike Hemsley, deputy director at the UK Energy Transitions Commission.

Editor: 齐笠名

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