From China’s emissions to Australia’s offshore windfarms, things are moving on climate – some even in the right direction
(The Guardian, 17 Nov 2023) There is an unprecedented global swing towards solar and wind power under way.
If you’re searching for some hope on the climate crisis before the Cop28 UN meeting in Dubai this month, try this: China may be changing direction on pollution earlier than expected.
Lauri Myllyvirta, a longtime China analyst now with the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, calculated that CO2 emissions from the world’s biggest national polluter are likely to fall next year and could then go into “structural decline”.
While the country’s emissions have increased this year – unsurprisingly, given that Beijing lifted zero-Covid controls at the end of 2022 – the more important news is its record growth in clean energy capacity. The expansion is on a scale large enough to more than meet its increasing demand.
Approval and construction of coal power plants also continues to expand but China has a history of building far more than it needs – its coal fleet runs at less than 50% capacity. Myllyvirta forecasts a permanent change may be under way as clean energy interest groups emerge to rival the traditionally powerful fossil fuel lobby.