In the past year, the US has cut emissions more than the EU, while China is increasing its at an extreme pace.
President Donald Trump would probably snort at the idea that he is a climate president, and has actively advocated for the US economy rather than climate agreements.
However, the latest figures show that the United States has cut its climate emissions significantly in recent years.
According to the overview BP Statistical Review, which includes all climate emissions from energy, emissions in the USA have gone from 5,485 million tonnes of CO2 in 2010 to 4,964 million tonnes in 2019. From 2018 to 2019 alone, climate emissions are down by 3.0 percent.
In total, emissions in the US have been cut by 152 million tonnes from 2018 to 2019. In the EU, the corresponding figure has decreased by 136 million tonnes, although the US is still much higher on emissions per person.
It caused quite a stir after the Trump administration sent letters that they began the process of removing the United States from the Paris Agreement. French President Emmanuel Macron reacted sharply to the message from the United States, referring to the fact that cooperation with China will become increasingly important.
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So far, the Paris Agreement has not significantly helped Chinese emissions.
Because while the US accounts for 14.5 percent of world emissions in 2019, China now accounts for 28.3 percent of all emissions.
China is thus close to twice as much climate emissions as the United States.
66 times Norway
Since 2009, China has increased its emissions by 2,115 million tonnes of CO2. Only the increase in emissions to China corresponds to 66 times Norway’s climate emissions.
The United States has long relied on coal to provide enough energy. Since the financial crisis, coal consumption has fallen sharply. It has been largely replaced by gas that has far lower emissions. At the same time, the share of renewable energy has also risen.
In China, the opposite has happened, and coal consumption is increasing. In total, China now consumes over seven times as much coal as the United States.
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– Need a new president
Leader Marius Holm of the environmental foundation ZERO says that it is in no way Donald Trump’s merit that emissions go down.
– The most important reason is that coal is outcompeted by gas and renewables. So much of the reason it happens is competitiveness. But there is also a lot going on at the state level in the USA, says Holm to Nettavisen.
For independent of the president, the states themselves decide much of the policy.
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– There is a lot of climate policy at the state level, and also at the federal level, even if Trump tries the opposite. There are tax incentives to invest in renewable energy, and several states have introduced quota systems and green certificates, says Holm.
In China, emissions have continued to grow, and it is not long since they announced the construction of a number of new coal-fired power plants.
– Capacity utilization for coal power in China has fallen like a rock. With their system, they will probably continue to build coal power plants long after it is not profitable, says Holm.
– What to do with China, which is increasing emissions so sharply?
– The most important thing is probably to get a new president in the US so we can have a global dialogue to do this together.
China has promised to reach the peak of climate emissions by 2030, and become carbon neutral by 2060.
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– But it’s not just cuddly talk that counts. EU President Ursula Van der Leyen has said that China must start praising carbon in industry. If not, the EU will have to do it. With that threat, it will lead to China having to adapt, says Holm.
He believes there is a green revolution on the way that will be as powerful as the industrial revolution and the digital revolution.
– China will have to do something. Because they have a vested interest in stopping climate change. They are very exposed. In addition, they have a lot of local pollution with coal power that goes beyond the health of people. Industrially, they invest heavily in both solar and battery technology, says Holm.