China has dramatically cut its carbon dioxide emissions since the beginning of the year, with its reduction equalling the UK’s total emissions for the same period.
The huge decline in China’s emissions can be attributed to the country’s falling coal consumption, which decreased last year for the first time this century.
Greenpeace/Energydesk China analysis found China’s coal use dropped by 8 per cent and its CO2 emissions dipped by 5 per cent in the first four months of the year, compared to the same period in 2014, and the decline is accelerating.
As part of a reform of the sector, China has ordered more than 1,000 coal mines to close and coal output is down 7.4 per cent year on year.
The news comes just months before the crucial UN Paris Summit, which aims to reach a global agreement on climate change.
1/7 Coastal systems and low-lying areas
Flood damaged streets in Queens, New York where the historic boardwalk was washed away due to Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The report predicts that by the end of the century “hundreds of millions of people will be affected by coastal flooding and displaced due to land loss”
2/7 Food security
Widespread drought devastated a corn crop on a farm near Bruceville, Indiana in 2012. The report forecasts that climate change will reduce median yields by up to 2 per cent per decade for the rest of the century
3/7 The global economy
The Evening Standard headline board showing the words 'Black Friday Shares Crash' in London in October 2008 in London. The report warns a global mean temperature increase of 2.5C above pre-industrial levels may lead to global aggregate economic losses of between 0.2 and 2.0 per cent
4/7 Human health
A child suffering from malnutrition and diarrhoea is seen at the Banadir hospital in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu in 2009. Climate change will lead to increases in ill-health in many regions, with examples including an increased likelihood of under-nutrition.
5/7 Human security
A Muslim migrant holds his son as they are detained at the Immigration Police Office on the Thai-Malaysian border in March 2014. The report states that climate change over the 21st century will have a significant impact on forms of migration that compromise human security
6/7 Freshwater resources
A villager walks through a parched paddy in Tianlin county, China in 2012. The report finds that climate change will “reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions"
7/7 Unique landscapes
Machair, a grassy coastal habitat found only in north-west Scotland and the west coast of Ireland, is one of the several elements of the UK’s “cultural heritage” that is at risk from climate change
China had previously been hostile to talks on climate change, as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
But last week the Chinese president Xi Jinping and India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, issued a joint statement urging developed countries to honour their commitments on CO2 emissions and help developing countries cut their own emissions.
The reduction in China’s emissions is roughly the same as the UK’s entire emissions for the past four months and the drop in coal use is four times that of the UK’s total consumption.
Should the fall continue for the remainder of the year, it would be the largest reduction of CO2 emissions by a single country recorded in history.
The calculations Greenpeace have made are based on a number of datasets, including Chinese government industrial output data and customs data on coal imports.Reuse content