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CO2 emissions from fossil fuel and industrial purposes in China 1970-2019

Carbon dioxide emissions in China from fossil fuel combustion and industrial activities totaled 11.5 billion metric tons in 2019. Between 1970 and 2000, emissions in China steadily increased from 907 million metric tons to 3.6 billion metric tons. However, as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, China’s emissions have been increasing rapidly since the turn of the century.

China’s contribution to global emissions

China is now the largest emitter of CO2 emissions worldwide, producing roughly twice the CO2 emissions of the United States each year. Although China’s contributions to global CO2 emissions only really started at the turn of the 21st century, it has now produced the second largest volume ever in terms of cumulative CO2 emissions. However, this is still half the total produced by the United States, where industrialization began far earlier.

Main sources of China emissions

One of the main reasons for China’s high level of emissions is the reliance of coal in its power mix. Coal is the most polluting of energy sources, and accounts for roughly 70 percent of China’s electricity generation. In 2020, China announced an ambitious plan to become carbon neutral by 2060, meaning a significant move away from fossil fuel powered transport and energy is needed.

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel and industrial purposes in China from 1970 to 2019

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Sources

Release date

2020

Region

China

Survey time period

1970 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Emission totals of fossil fuel use and industrial processes (cement production, carbonate use of limestone and dolomite, non-energy use of fossil fuels and other combustion). Short-cycle and large-scale biomass burning are excluded.

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