A roadmap for China to peak carbon dioxide emissions and achieve a 20% share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy by 2030
As part of its Paris Agreement commitment, China pledged to peak carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions around 2030, striving to peak earlier, and to increase the non-fossil share of primary energy to 20% by 2030. Yet by the end of 2017, China emitted 28% of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions, 76% of which were from coal use. How China can reinvent its energy economy cost-effectively while still achieving its commitments was the focus of a three-year joint research project completed in September 2016. Overall, this analysis found that if China follows a pathway in which it aggressively adopts all cost-effective energy efficiency and CO2 emission reduction technologies while also aggressively moving away from fossil fuels to renewable and other non-fossil resources, it is possible to not only meet its Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commitments, but also to reduce its 2050 CO2 emissions to a level that is 42% below the country’s 2010 CO2emissions. While numerous barriers exist that will need to be addressed through effective policies and programs in order to realize these potential energy use and emissions reductions, there are also significant local environmental (e.g., air quality), national and global environmental (e.g., mitigation of climate change), human health, and other unquantified benefits that will be realized if this pathway is pursued in China.