ARKANSAS, Nov 21 (Future Headlines)- A recent survey conducted by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the International Society for Energy Transition Studies reveals a growing consensus among climate and energy experts that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated China’s energy transition. The survey, based on the insights of 89 participants specializing in energy, environment, and climate change, suggests increased optimism regarding China’s progress toward peak carbon emissions.
Over 70% of surveyed experts express confidence that China can achieve its peak carbon emissions goal before the 2030 target. Additionally, 21% believe that China will reach peak emissions before 2025 or has already peaked. These figures represent an increase from the previous year, indicating a more optimistic view of China’s carbon reduction efforts.
Despite the multifaceted impact of COVID-19 on China’s energy sector, more than half of the experts agree that the post-pandemic economic situation will accelerate the energy transition. This acceleration is attributed to the increased adoption of renewable energy and reduced carbon emissions.
The survey indicates a growing number of experts are optimistic about achieving an early carbon peak in various sectors. This includes China’s primary energy consumption, as well as key sectors like steel, cement, and transport, potentially before 2030 or even by 2025. This optimism reflects a positive trend toward cleaner practices in major industries.
While optimism prevails regarding the timeline for peak carbon emissions, experts express concerns about the height of peak emissions compared to previous levels. Over half of the experts predict that peak levels will be at least 15% higher than China’s 2020 emissions. This highlights the challenge of achieving substantial emissions reductions.
The survey reveals a division of opinions regarding the peak emissions timeline for China’s power sector. About 30% of experts anticipate the sector peaking emissions after 2030, indicating increased uncertainty. This uncertainty is linked to concerns about China’s coal consumption, which has expanded rapidly, citing energy security considerations.
Analysts emphasize the pivotal role of clean electricity generation in achieving emissions reduction goals. The data suggests that almost all of China’s recent carbon dioxide emissions growth stems from the power sector. To effectively limit emissions increases, maintaining the growth of clean electricity generation is deemed crucial.
To address the challenges associated with peak emissions and long-term carbon-neutrality goals, experts emphasize the need for continued focus on renewable energy. The survey underscores that sustaining the impressive growth in clean electricity generation is paramount for achieving emission reduction targets.
The survey’s findings paint a picture of cautious optimism regarding China’s energy transition and its journey toward peak carbon emissions. While experts recognize the positive momentum and accelerated efforts post-pandemic, challenges remain, particularly in ensuring substantial emissions reductions and addressing uncertainties in sectors like power generation. The emphasis on clean electricity generation and a sector-specific approach highlights the nuanced nature of China’s energy transition and the importance of strategic measures for sustainable and significant progress.
Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White