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Lower growth in CO2 emissions expected in China and India

Analysis cites drop in use of coal

by Cheryl Hogue
May 22, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 21

China and India are lowering their use of coal and are likely to cut their projected emissions of carbon dioxide, says a new analysis.

By 2030, both nations are now expected to have CO2 emissions below the levels they pledged to in the Paris Agreement on climate change, says the analysis by Climate Action Tracker. This consortium of three research organizations keeps tabs on countries’ progress toward limiting their greenhouse gas emissions.

China’s consumption of coal declined slowly between 2013 and 2016, and this trend is expected to continue, the analysis says. India, meanwhile, in 2016 announced cancellation of plans to build several huge coal-fired power plants. This change will significantly slow India’s anticipated CO2 emissions growth during the next decade, the analysis concludes.

“Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping—or even slowing—coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these countries,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics. The Berlin-based group is part of the consortium that coproduced the analysis.

Climate Action Tracker also considered policy changes proposed by U.S. President Donald J. Trump. If fully implemented, Trump’s planned climate-related regulatory rollbacks would halt the U.S.’s current decline in CO2 emissions, bringing them to a steady level by 2030, the analysis finds.

The developments in India and China would result in 2 billion to 3 billion fewer metric tons of CO2 emissions a year by 2030. These decreases would “significantly outweigh” the potential increases in the U.S. under Trump’s plans, estimated at 0.4 billion metric tons annually by 2030, the analysis says.


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