Inside China’s HUGE carbon emissions as Xi Jinping fails to show up for COP26

BBC Newsnight: China and Russia set to attend COP26 via video link

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As world leaders gather in Glasgow for the UN Cop26 Climate Change conference, many fear their actions will be useless without China on board. A worrying report has found that China’s emissions exceed all those emitted by the entire developed world. Express.co.uk explores just how seriously China is taking climate change.

China’s emissions in 2019 were more than those produced by the US, India and EU combined.

Despite this alarming statistic China’s president, Xi Jinping, has failed to join world leaders in Glasgow to discuss a global strategy to combat climate change.

Although the Chinese President will attend some events virtually, many see this failure to show up as a sign China isn’t taking climate change seriously enough.

Scientists warn without an agreement between the world’s two largest emitters, the US and China, it will be difficult to avert climate catastrophe.

How big are China’s emissions?

A study by the think tank, Rhodium Group, has found China’s emissions accounted for 27 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases in 2019.

This is a staggering statistic when compared to the amount other nations produce.

The US was the second-largest emitter according to this latest research, as it emitted 11 percent of the world’s greenhouse gasses.

India meanwhile came in third accounting for 6.6 percent of emissions.

The EU produces a worrying amount too, the bloc was the fourth-highest emitter as it contributed 6.4 percent of global emissions.

But it is important to note while China is the world’s biggest emitter, it also has the world’s largest population.

This means its emissions per person are in fact significantly lower than the US.

What is China doing to help combat climate change?

Xi Jinping’s target to reach net-zero emissions by 2060 has been blasted for not going far enough.

Far from curbing their carbon footprint, China’s emissions have jumped in recent decades according to Rhodium Group’s research.

China’s emissions are forecast to climb for decades to come, as the country has only set a target for its emissions to peak by “no later than 2030.”

But the country has a long way to go if it hopes to achieve carbon neutrality.

To become carbon neutral the country must reduce its carbon emissions by a whopping 90 percent according to the Lowy Institute.

As well as offsetting the rest through natural systems or technologies which are designed to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit.

Why is China such a large emitter?

China relies heavily on coal for its power – coal is the most polluting of all fossil fuels.

China is currently running 1,058 coal plants, which is more than half the world’s capacity according to the BBC.

Until the country moves away from this polluting fossil fuel its emissions will continue to soar.

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