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An Early Peak Has a Lot of Symbolic Value

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2024-02-22 15:14:23 | Author: Tang Zhexiao


Photovoltaic project base in Yuncheng, north China's Shanxi province. (PHOTO: VCG)

China’s massive rollout of renewable energy is accelerating, its investments in the sector growing so large that international climate watchdogs now expect the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions to peak years earlier than anticipated—possibly as soon as this year.    

China installed 217 gigawatts worth of solar power last year alone, a 55 percent increase, according to new government data. That is more than 500 million solar panels and well above the total installed solar capacity of the U.S. They appeared everywhere from the deserts of Inner Mongolia to the mountains of southwest China to rooftops across the country, including on the Great Hall of the People on the edge of Tiananmen Square.

Wind-energy installation additions were 76 gigawatts last year, more than the rest of the world combined. That amounted to more than 20,000 new turbines across the country, including the world’s largest, planted on towers in the sea off China’s east coast.    

The low-carbon capacity additions, which also included hydropower and nuclear, were for the first time large enough that their power output could cover the entire annual increase in Chinese electricity demand, analysts say. The dynamic suggests that coal-fired generation—which accounts for 70 percent of overall emissions for the world’s biggest polluter—is set to decline in the years to come, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency and Lauri Myllyvirta, the Helsinki-based lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

“An early peak would have a lot of symbolic value and send a signal to the world that we’ve turned a corner,” said Jan Ivar Korsbakken, a senior researcher at the Oslo-based Center for International Climate and Environmental Research. 

Sha Hua and Matthew Dalton, China’s Carbon Emissions Are Set to Decline Years Earlier Than Expected, The Wall Street Journal, 11-02-2024 

Editor: 汤哲枭

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