China's CO2 Emissions Drop for the First Time Since Covid Recovery

China's CO2 Emissions Drop for the First Time Since Covid Recovery

China's carbon emissions fell in the third quarter for the first time since the economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic hit. This decline is seen as a result of restrictions on property development and widespread coal shortages.

Ummatimes - Lauri Myllyvirta, principal analyst at the Helsinki-based Center for Energy and Clean Air Research (CREA), said the world's largest greenhouse gas emissions fell by about 0.5 percent in July to September from a year earlier.

"Emissions reductions could mark a turning point and an early peak in China's total emissions, several years ahead of its target of peaking before 2030," Myllyvirta said in a report published in Carbon Brief.

The decline marks a turnaround from about a nine percent increase in emissions in the first half of 2021. It comes as China's post-Covid-19 economic recovery is in full swing with construction and heavy industrial activity.

The last time China's quarterly emissions fell year over year was in January to March 2020, when Covid-19 first hit. While researchers have shown that China's major industry could reach a carbon peak around 2024 and called for total curbs on emissions by 2025, its top climate negotiator made no more ambitious pledges at UN talks in Glasgow that ended earlier this month.

Tight coal supplies and record high prices led to power outages in much of China at the end of the third quarter. As a result industrial operations and disrupt residential use.

According to Reuters calculations based on data from China's statistical bureau, production of the two main building materials, raw steel and cement, slowed 16 percent and 11 percent, respectively, from the previous three months. China has tightened property restrictions amid concerns over the potential collapse of highly indebted companies such as the China Evergrande Group and the possible spillover of credit risk into the wider economy.

"If the Chinese government injects further construction stimulus to boost its economy, emissions could increase once again before peaking later this decade," Myllyvirta said.