Juan Wang | Renewable and Sustainable
The emissions of the Chinese industrial sector alone comprise 24.1% of global emissions (7.8 GtCyr−1 in 2015). This makes Chinese industrial emissions of unique national and international relevance in climate policy. This study reports a literature survey that quantitatively describes the evolution of these emissions from 2000 to 2050 in the context of policy goals. The survey reveals that: (1) The major historical factor contributing to the decrease in industrial CO2 emissions has been the reduction in energy intensities. However, that decrease has been more than compensated for by increases in industrial activity. (2) An ensemble of projections shows that China’s industrial emissions will likely peak in 2030, in alignment with China’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. The timing of the peak varies across industrial sub-sectors, with ferrous metals and non-metallic products sectors peaking first, and the electricity sector later. (3) The assumptions underlying optimistic scenarios broadly match the drivers of recent decreases in historical emissions (energy intensity, industrial structure and energy mix). Furthermore, these factors feature prominently in China’s policy portfolio to both develop and decarbonize the Chinese industrial sector. The industrial carbon intensity targets of 2020 and 2025 are close to the median predictions in the medium scenarios from studies.