China's emissions now exceed developed world's total output

The massive scale of China's emissions highlights the importance of Beijing's drive to peak emissions before 2030.
The massive scale of China's emissions highlights the importance of Beijing's drive to peak emissions before 2030.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world's developed nations combined, according to new research from Rhodium Group.

China's emissions of six heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, rose to 14.09 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019, edging out the total of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members by about 30 million tonnes, according to the New York-based climate research group.

The massive scale of China's emissions highlights the importance of President Xi Jinping's drive to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and reach net-zero by 2060.

China accounted for 27 per cent of global emissions.

The United States, the second-biggest emitter, contributed 11 per cent while India - for the first time - surpassed the European Union with about 6.6 per cent of the global total.

Still, China also has the world's largest population, so its per capita emissions remain far less than those of the US.

And on a historical basis, OECD members are still the world's biggest warming culprits, having pumped four times more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than China since 1750.

"China's history as a major emitter is relatively short compared with developed countries, many of which had more than a century head start," the researchers said.

"Current global warming is the result of emissions from both the recent and more distant past."