Climate change: China emitted more greenhouse gases in 2019 than the world’s developed countries combined

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China emitted a greater amount of greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere in 2019 than all the developed countries in the world put together, a study finds.

The eastern superpower has tripled its emission levels since the 1990s, crossing the 14 gigatonnes threshold for the first time in 2019.

Emission estimates for 190 countries around the world were calculated by experts from research firm Rhodium Group in conjunction with Breakthrough Energy.

Six greenhouse gases were considered in the analysis: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

Global emissions have increased by 11.4 percent over the past decade to 52 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019, of which China is responsible for 27 percent.

The second largest emitter was the US – accounting for 11 percent of the total – while India left the EU for the first time to come in third with 6.6 percent.

China has tripled its emissions level since the 1990s, crossing the 19 gigatonnes threshold for the first time a year earlier.  Pictured: smog over Shanghai (stock image)

China has tripled its emissions level since the 1990s, crossing the 19 gigatonnes threshold for the first time a year earlier. Pictured: smog over Shanghai (stock image)

China (shown in red) emitted a greater amount of greenhouse gases into Earth's atmosphere in 2019 than all the developed countries in the world put together, a study found.

China (shown in red) emitted a greater amount of greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere in 2019 than all the developed countries in the world put together, a study found.

“ China’s emissions not only eclipsed those of the US – the world’s second largest emitter, with 1 percent of the global total – but for the first time exceeded those of all developed countries combined, ” said the Rhodium group. .

For the purposes of the study, the researchers defined developed countries as countries belonging to the European Union or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

‘Greenhouse gas emissions from all members of the OECD, as well as all 27 EU member states, reached 14,057 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2019, about 36 million tons less than China’s total,’ the researchers added.

While China’s figures may seem disproportionate, they should also be seen in relation to the fact that the vast land is home to a significant population, estimated at over 1.4 billion people.

On a per capita basis, China’s emissions have long been significantly lower than those of developed countries and, despite tripling over the past two decades to about 10.1 tons, they remain below the OECD average.

Per capita, the United States is the largest offender for greenhouse gas emissions, with a significantly higher value of 17.6 tons per capita.

While final figures are still pending, the researchers expect China’s per capita emissions to be higher than the OECD average by 2020 as member states, unlike China, saw emissions fall sharply during COVID 19 lockdowns.

In China, however, we saw greenhouse gas emissions increase by 1.7 percent last year.

On a per capita basis, China's emissions (shown in red) have long been significantly lower than those of developed countries and, despite tripling over the past two decades to about 10.1 tons, remain they are below the OECD average (in blue)

On a per capita basis, China’s emissions (shown in red) have long been significantly lower than those of developed countries and, despite tripling over the past two decades to about 10.1 tons, remain they are below the OECD average (in blue)

It’s also worth taking into account historical emissions figures, the experts noted.

“China’s history as a major emitter is relatively short compared to developed countries, many of which were more than a century ahead,” they explained.

Much of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere every year lingers for hundreds of years. As a result, current global warming is the result of emissions from both the recent and distant past.

“Since 1750, members of the OECD bloc have on a cumulative basis emitted four times more carbon dioxide than China.”

The full findings of the study are published on the Rhodium Group website.

“China’s history as a major emitter is relatively short compared to developed countries,” the researchers explained. ‘Since 1750, members of the OECD bloc have on a cumulative basis emitted four times more carbon dioxide than China’

THE PARIS AGREEMENT: A GLOBAL AGREEMENT TO REDUCE TEMPERATURE RISKS THROUGH CARBON EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS

First signed in 2015, the Paris Agreement is an international agreement to control and mitigate climate change.

It hopes to keep the rise in the global average temperature below 2 ° C (3.6 ° F) ‘and make efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F)’.

It seems the more ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C (2.7 ° F) may be more important than ever, according to previous research that claims 25 percent of the world will see a significant increase in could see drier conditions.

In June 2017, President Trump announced his intention that the US, the world’s second largest producer of greenhouse gases, withdraw from the agreement.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change has four main goals in terms of reducing emissions:

1) A long-term goal to keep the global average temperature rise well below 2 ° C above pre-industrial levels

2) Strive to limit the rise to 1.5 ° C as this would significantly reduce the risks and consequences of climate change

3) Governments agreed that global emissions should peak as soon as possible, recognizing that this will take longer for developing countries

4) Perform rapid reductions afterwards in accordance with the best available science

Source: European Commission

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