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the decline continues in China, -8% in Q2

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For the 4th consecutive time, the quarterly data of greenhouse gases emitted by Beijing have a minus sign. It had never happened before. The primacy both in relative and absolute terms. Lockdown and growth of renewables among the causes

Photo by Anton Eprev on Unsplash

The decline in greenhouse gas emissions has continued since June 2021

( – Minus 8%, equal to 232.6 million tons of CO2 (MtCO2). It is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that China recorded in the second quarter of 2022. A record figure, the highest in at least 10 years now, both in relative and absolute terms. Which has been extending a downhill curve for a year now. And it also exceeds the decrease recorded in the first three months of 2020, when Beijing had suffered the biggest blow with the lockdowns due to Covid-19. At that time, the slowdown was close to 180 MtCO2.

The causes? There are many, partly linked to the race for clean energy and partly due to the intertwining of the energy crisis and pandemic. “The latest quarterly decline was caused by China’s continuing real estate slump, severe Covid control measures, weak growth in electricity demand and strong growth in renewable production”explains Lauri Myllyvirta in an analysis for Carbon Brief.

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The two main items that drove greenhouse gas emissions down are transport and cement. Refinery output falls by 11% between April and June, a sign of the weight that have had the lockdowns for Covid-19 – more and more numerous with the Zero Covid policy desired by President Xi Jinping – on vehicular traffic. In the same period, the emission contribution of concrete andsteel It fell apart. The production of the former drops by 18%, the effect of the Chinese real estate crisis.


The use of thermal coal also drops by 6%which depends on the combination of growth in renewables and very low growth in electricity demand. “While thermal energy – largely coal – continues to be added to the grid, the additions in 2022 are at the lowest rate in the last five years”, we read in the analysis. Where wind and solar have continued to grind monthly records.

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The next quarter could have quite different figures. “Emissions from electricity generation increased in July and August as a record heat wave increased the demand for electricity for air conditioning and drought affected hydroelectric power generation in a period in which there is usually a good availability of water “note the analysis.

The article is in Italian

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