Both China and India are set to overachieve on their Paris Agreement climate pledges, even as the United States looks to fall short under Trump administration policies, according to a new analysis.
The shift is the result, in part, of declining coal consumption the last three years in China, the leading carbon polluter, a drop that’s expected to continue. At the same time, India may pull back on plans to build more coal-fired power plants. However, the analysis, by the research consortium Climate Action Tracker, finds that rollbacks on Obama administration policies, if carried out, mean U.S. emissions will likely stop declining altogether and flatline instead.
The cuts in energy demand in China and India, the third-largest carbon polluter, are also significant, reports InsideClimate, because their economies are growing at 7 percent annually, significantly faster than the world average of 2.7 percent (and U.S. GDP growth of 2.6 percent).
“In the last ten years, the energy market has transformed: The price of renewable energy from wind and solar has dropped drastically,” adds Yvonne Deng of Ecofys, one of the research organizations behind the study. “Renewables are now cost-competitive and being built at a much faster rate than coal-fired power plants.”
Meanwhile, even as China and India increasingly dominate ownership of coal reserves, a new report suggests China is waging an aggressive, multi-front campaign to clean up coal before eventually phasing it out.