China's 2019 greenhouse gas emissions exceeded those of the United States and the rest of the developed world combined, according to CNBC, citing a Thursday report by the Rhodium Group - a New York-based advisory group founded in 2003 by China expert Daniel H. Rosen.
According to the study co-authored by a former Obama admin climate policy official, energy modelers and emissions experts (just go with it), China is now responsible for 27% of total global emissions - more than the combined total produced by the United States (11%), India (6.6%) and the 27 EU member nations together (6.4%).
In 2019, China’s emissions not only eclipsed that of the US—the world’s second-largest emitter at 11% of the global total—but also, for the first time, surpassed the emissions of all developed countries combined (Figure 2). When added together, GHG emissions from all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as all 27 EU member states, reached 14,057 MMt CO2e in 2019, about 36 MMt CO2e short of China’s total. -Rhodium Group
In short, Chinese President Xi Jinping stole Greta Thunberg's childhood.
That said, the Rhodium Group also gives China somewhat of a pass for their climate sins - noting that since it's home to over 1.4 billion people, they're not quite so evil per capita.
To date, China’s size has meant that its per capita emissions have remained considerably lower than those in the developed world. In 2019, China’s per capita emissions reached 10.1 tons, nearly tripling over the past two decades (Figure 3). This comes in just below average levels across the OECD bloc (10.5 tons/capita) in 2019, but still significantly lower than the US, which has the highest per capita emissions in the world at 17.6 tons/capita. While final global data for 2020 is not yet available, we expect China’s per capita emissions exceeded the OECD average in 2020, as China’s net GHG emissions grew around 1.7% while emissions from almost all other nations declined sharply in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While China exceeded all developed countries combined in terms of annual emissions and came very close to matching per capita emissions in 2019, China’s history as a major emitter is relatively short compared to developed countries, many of which had more than a century head start. A large share of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year hangs around for hundreds of years. As a result, current global warming is the result of emissions from both the recent and more distant past. Since 1750, members of the OECD bloc have emitted four times more CO2 on a cumulative basis than China (Figure 4). This overstates the relative role of OECD emissions in the more than 1 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures that has occurred since before the industrial revolution because a large share of annual CO2 emissions is absorbed in the earth’s carbon cycle in the decades after release. But China still has a way to go before surpassing the OECD on a cumulative contribution basis.
So of course, historically speaking, China has polluted far less - a point we're still trying to understand.
As CNBC notes, "The findings come after a climate summit President Joe Biden hosted last month, during which Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his pledge to make sure the nation’s emissions peak by 2030. He also repeated China’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury and urged countries to work together to combat the climate crisis."
"We must be committed to multilateralism," said Xi during brief remarks at the summit. "China looks forward to working with the international community, including the United States, to jointly advance global environmental governance."
Xi also said that it would 'control its coal-fired generation projects and limit increases in coal consumption over the next five years.'
As we noted on Tuesday, this means China needs to shutter 600 coal plants to meet its emissions goals of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2060. If they don't meet that goal, we're sure the virtuous masters of the universe will surely refuse to conduct further business with Beijing.
Is China aware that Blackrock, Bridgewater and Goldman will never, ever invest in it unless it shuts 600 coal-fired plants to hit its climate target?— zerohedge (@zerohedge) May 3, 2021