Last month the government released its latest climate change inventory, showing that emissions were still rising. More importantly, it seemingly has no plan to stop them, preferrign to rely on outright fraud. Meanwhile in China they're meeting their emissions reduction targets years ahead of schedule...
The structure of the economy is changing rapidly, with services and private consumption – sectors with very low energy intensity in relative terms – growing while the heavy industry sectors responsible for most of the coal consumption and CO2 emissions are contracting.
As a result we are seeing falling carbon emissions — and more blue skies.
The speed of structural change appears, however, to have taken the central planning apparatus completely by surprise.
2020 energy targets that would have seemed quite meaningful or even ambitious a few years ago have now become redundant.
The share of coal in the total energy mix will fall below 63% already this year, having fallen one percentage point per year since 2010.
The current target for 2020 is 62%, meaning that this target will probably be met in 2016 or 2017 — up to 4 years in advance.
They're meeting all their new energy demand from renewables, while gradually eliminating coal use. And this trend is likely to get even stronger as the Chinese economy shifts. So why are we dragging our feet again?