China Could See Emissions Peak This Year, Analysis Finds

The Tangshanpeng Wind Farm in Qixia, China.

The Tangshanpeng Wind Farm in Qixia, China. Land Rover via Flickr

Thanks to a record buildout of wind and solar power, China could hit peak emissions this year, according to a new analysis.

Since the year 2000, Chinese emissions have roughly tripled as manufacturing boomed. Wind and solar have also grown, though never fast enough to keep up with rising power demand. But that is about to change, an analysis from CarbonBrief finds.

Record installations of wind and solar mean that this year the growth of clean power will exceed the average yearly growth in demand. With wind and solar on the rise, and hydropower recovering from years of drought, renewables are “all but guaranteed” to push coal power into decline next year, the analysis said.

Beyond the power sector, a downturn in construction has blunted emissions from the production of cement, while soaring EV sales mean that China is likely to hit peak gasoline demand in 2024.

If the wind and solar buildout continues apace, the drop in power-sector emissions “could drive a sustained, structural emissions decline for the country as a whole,” the analysis found. “Moreover, this structural decline could come about despite the new wave of coal plant permitting and construction in the country.”


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