BEIJING – The environmental organization Greenpeace warned on Thursday that China increased its carbon dioxide emissions by 3 percent in 2018, despite making major investments in renewable energy in the country.
This is “the largest rise since at least 2013,” according to a Greenpeace report written by the renewable energy expert Lauri Myllyvirta.
“I think it’s likely the 1% growth in coal use (which the Chinese Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday) is under-reported,” Myllyvirta told EFE, since Chinese coal production increased by 4.5 percent in 2018 – in 2017 it had risen 3.3 percent – in addition to the rise in coal imports.
This rise in production was, according to Greenpeace, especially due to the increase in demand for energy production – around 60 percent of electricity in China comes from coal – which in turn comes from greater demand for energy from the Chinese construction sector.
“Growth in electricity demand was driven by sectors linked to China’s construction industry – iron, steel and other metals; cement; glass and construction accounted for two thirds of growth in industrial power demand,” the report said.
The only data on the evolution of the CO2 polluting emissions offered by the Chinese authorities in the report released on Thursday indicates that there was a 4 percent reduction compared to 2017.
This is due to the formula chosen by Beijing, which measures emissions for every 10,000 yuan ($1,495) of its GDP, which grew 6.6 percent last year, so that, in total, CO2 emissions increased, Greenpeace argued.
However, Greenpeace concluded that the data published on Thursday by the Chinese government showed a drop in energy produced from fossil fuels to 70 percent of the total, with 8 percent produced through wind and solar means.
The report added that “what happens next in China is crucial for global climate efforts, as well as China’s war on smog at home.”
It said the whether the increase in emissions continues this year depends on several factors: pushing for economic transition rather than applying stimulus measures to smokestack industries, whether the implementation of clean energy will meet the rise in demand and whether the fight against smog overcomes the setbacks seen this winter.