Analysis: China’s CO2 emissions hit Q1 record high after 4% rise in early 2023
(CarbonBrief, 12 May 2023) China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions grew 4% in the first quarter of 2023, reaching a record high for the first three months of the year.
The new analysis for Carbon Brief, based on official figures and commercial data, shows the increase was driven by an economic rebound after the end of China’s long zero-Covid policy, stimulus measures and weak hydro generation due to an ongoing drought.
Looking at the rest of the year, the government’s focus on economic growth means that China’s emissions are likely to reach an all-time high in 2023, topping the previous peak in 2021.
The medium-term picture is less clear. The first quarter of 2023 saw further approvals for new coal power capacity, after a sharp increase last year. In the same period, additions of wind and solar capacity both reached record highs, with nuclear also accelerating.
The growth of low-carbon energy means new coal capacity is not guaranteed to raise China’s emissions – and recent high-profile criticism could mean more scrutiny of coal expansion.
CarbonBrief, 12 May 2023: Analysis: China’s CO2 emissions hit Q1 record high after 4% rise in early 2023