Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index for China.
As the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and manufacturing hub, China is in a unique position to change the course of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2019, total greenhouse gas emissions in China were estimated at 13.92 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, a rise of 2.6% from the previous year despite a fall in the share of coal in the country’s energy mix. This rise was driven by an increase in energy consumption and greater use of oil and gas. Ironically, while the country is the world’s largest consumer of coal, it is also the largest developer of renewable energy.
With its current policies, China’s emissions are projected to rise until at least 2030, slowing towards the end of the 2020s. However, the country is on track to overachieve its 2030 NDC target based on its current policies; China’s target of 20% share of renewable energy in total energy demand in 2030 would be increased to a minimum of 23% and its emissions reduction target would be strengthened from 60-65% below 2005 levels to 68%.
Hopefully, China will submit a strengthened NDC to the Paris Agreement by this year, although with the COVID-19 pandemic, this is unlikely.
- China is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, accounting for approximately 27% of global GHG emissions. It is also the world’s largest producer of renewable energy.
- Its Paris Agreement pledges include lowering its carbon intensity by between 60 and 65% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.
- Its 13th Five-Year Plan (covering the period 2016-2020) stipulates a maximum 58% share of coal in national energy consumption by 2020, among other energy related targets. China is implementing an emissions trading system, with the first trades expected in 2020, and it has also announced a mandatory renewable energy certificate scheme that sets targets for renewable energy for each province individually. However, the government abruptly suspended approvals for subsidies on solar projects in 2018 and issued new policies to reduce solar and wind subsidies in 2019. The government has also lifted a two-year ban on new coal-fired power plant construction.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.