Robbie Andrew

CICERO Center for International Climate ResearchHome   |   About me   |   Contact me

Uncertainties around reductions in China's coal use and CO2 emissions


Chinese coal consumption dropped 2.9% in 2014 according to preliminary official statistics released in 2015. This was hailed as historic after China's meteoric growth in the 2000s. The International Energy Agency used it to estimate ~1.5% reduction in Chinese fossil CO2 emissions for 2014, and an unprecedented 0.2% reduction in global emissions. Similar preliminary coal consumption statistics are announced every year, and will be watched closely after China's recent slowdown in emissions growth and pledge to peak emissions in 2030 or earlier. However, Chinese energy statistics are frequently revised and often contain large anomalies, implying high uncertainty. For example, BP used different Chinese data to estimate a 0.9% increase in 2014 CO2 emissions.

Here, we analyse these preliminary announcements, with an approach that can be used to assess the robustness of similar future announcements. We show that the preliminary 2.9% reduction in coal consumption is inappropriate for estimating CO2 emissions, that coal-derived energy consumption stayed flat but is likely to have decreased in 2015, and that Chinese fossil CO2 emissions probably increased ~0.8% in 2014. We also analyse recent revisions of official energy statistics, and find that they imply 925 MtCO2 (11.2%) higher emissions for 2013, and 7.6 GtCO2 (9.2%) higher total emissions for 2000-2013.

Global Carbon Budget 2016

The Global Carbon Project has released its 2016 edition of the world’s carbon budget, including historical emissions by country back to 1751. This multidisciplinary and international effort provides a set of consistent supporting data for further analysis.Learn more »

Fairness and Ambition

We are rapidly depleting the global budget for CO2 emissions determined by a 2°C limit. How do major emitters’ pledges compare to the path we must take?Learn more »

Persistent growth of carbon emissions

Two thirds of the CO2 emission quota consistent with a 2°C temperature limit has already been used, and the total quota will likely be exhausted in a further 30 years at the 2014 emissions rates.Learn more »

Web design by Robbie Andrew