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China Commits to Peak GHG Emissions ‘As Soon As Possible’

Perhaps the most significant moment at the UN Climate Summit September 23 was China’s commitment to cap its greenhouse gas emissions. Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said China would “announce post-2020 actions on climate change as soon as we can, to markedly reduce carbon intensity, increase the share of non-fossil fuels, and raise the forest stock. We will also try to bring about the peaking of total CO2 emissions as soon as possible.” China has already reduced its carbon intensity 28.5% between 2005 and 2013, and accounted for 58% of the energy saved around the world between 1991 and 2010, according to the World Bank. “In 2013, the installed renewable capacity in China was 24% of world total, and forest stock in China grew two billion cubic meters from 2005 levels,” Zhang said. Jennifer Morgan, Director of Climate and Energy Programs at the World Resources Institute, said Zhang’s remarks “go further than ever before,” and represent “a welcome signal for the cooperative action we need for the Paris Agreement. Peaking emissions is vital to curb climate change and to rein in dangerous air pollution.”