As Trump drags US backwards, China's massive spending on clean energy delivers reduction targets 12 years early
Twelve years ahead of schedule, a new report finds that China may already have had its worst year for carbon emissions—a sign that the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases could be well on its way to meeting the goals put forth by the Paris climate agreement.
"As part of the Paris Agreement, China pledged to peak its CO2 emissions by 2030. In retrospect, the commitment may have been fulfilled as it was being made," wrote several scientists who reported on their findings in Nature Geoscience on Tuesday.
The study found that China produced 9.2 billion tons of carbon in 2016, down from 9.5 billion tons in 2013. The emission levels of the country, which surpassed the U.S. as the world's biggest carbon producer in 2007, have declined every year from 2014 to 2016.
The downward slope represents "stability," according to Dabo Guan, a professor of climate change economics at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
"This is quite important, because it can play a demonstration role to the global South countries like India or Indonesia," Guan told the Daily Beast. "The future of climate change mitigation is in the hands of the global South countries."