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China CO2 Emissions Fall for 1st Time Since COVID Rebound

China CO2 Emissions Fall for 1st Time Since COVID Rebound

Thursday, 25 November, 2021 - 08:30
A coal-burning power plant can be seen behind a factory in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, October 31, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray

China's carbon emissions fell in the third quarter for the first time since its economic recovery from the coronavirus began, new research shows, partly as a result of a clampdown on property development and widespread coal shortages.

The world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases saw CO2 emissions drop by around 0.5% in July-September from a year earlier, Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst with the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), said.

"The drop in emissions could mark a turning point and an early peak in China's total emissions, years ahead of its target to peak before 2030," Myllyvirta said in a report published on Carbon Brief on Thursday.

The fall marks a turnaround from an approximately 9% increase in emissions in the first half of 2021, when China's post-COVID-19 economic recovery was in full swing with construction and heavy industrial activity, Reuters said.

The last time China's quarterly emissions fell year-on-year was in January-March 2020, when COVID-19 first hit.

Although researchers had pointed out that China's major industries could reach carbon peaks by around 2024 and called for a cap on total emissions by 2025, its top climate negotiators did not make any more ambitious pledges in the UN talks in Glasgow that ended earlier this month.

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