Analysis: China’s emissions set to fall in 2024 after record growth in clean energy

(CarbonBrief, 13 Nov 2023) China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are set to fall in 2024 and could be facing structural decline, due to record growth in the installation of new low-carbon energy sources.

The new analysis for Carbon Brief, based on official figures and commercial data, shows China’s CO2 emissions continuing to rebound from the nation’s “zero-Covid” period, rising by an estimated 4.7% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2023.

The strongest growth was in oil demand and other sectors that had been affected by pandemic policies, until the lifting of zero-Covid controls at the end of 2022.

Other key findings from the analysis include:

  • China has been seeing a boom in manufacturing, which has offset a contraction in demand for carbon-intensive steel and cement due to the ongoing real-estate slump.
  • The emissions rebound in 2023 has been accompanied by record installations of low-carbon electricity generating capacity, particularly wind and solar.
  • Hydro generation is set to rebound from record lows due to drought in 2022-23.
  • China’s economic recovery from Covid has been muted. To date, it has not repeated previous rounds of major infrastructure expansion after economic shocks.
  • There has been a surge of investment in manufacturing capacity, particularly for low-carbon technologies, including solar, electric vehicles and batteries.
  • This is creating an increasingly important interest group in China, which could affect the country’s approach to domestic and international climate politics.
  • On the other hand, coal power capacity continues to expand, setting the scene for a showdown between the country’s traditional and newly emerging interest groups

External link

CarbonBrief, 13 Nov 2023: Analysis: China’s emissions set to fall in 2024 after record growth in clean energy