President Donald Trump (R) has threatened to pull out of the Paris Agreement, but now emissions reductions in China and India are planning to make could almost make up for the amount the US committed to reduce its emissions by. Renewable energy development and the reduction of coal generated power in China and India alone are expected to offset global greenhouse emissions by up to 3 metric tons by 2030, even if the US rolls back its commitment.
As Trump implements his “America First Energy Plan,” he’s rolled back environmental protections in the US and threatened to take other actions to allow coal-fired power to be more competitive. Even if he pulls the US out of the Paris Agreement it’s now only expected to negatively impact global carbon emissions by an estimated 0.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2030. That’s according to Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of researchers who track global emission in 32 countries.
“The highly adverse rollbacks of US climate policies by the Trump Administration, if fully implemented and not compensated by other actors, are projected to flatten US emissions instead of continuing on a downward trend,” said Prof Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute.
“Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping—or even slowing—coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these countries,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics. “Recent observations show they are now on the way toward overcoming this challenge.”
China’s coal consumption decreased significantly from 2013 to 2016 as coal plants are being replaced with renewable energy development. The Chinese government cancelled plans to build over 100 coal-fired power plants totaling 120 gigawatts. Some of them were already under construction. As the largest global manufacturer of solar products and largest capacity of installed solar, China added 34.25 gigawatts of new solar capacity in 2016 bringing its total capacity to 77.42 gigawatts, according to China’s National Energy Administration.
As soon as 2027 India is projected to generate up to 57 percent of its energy demands from renewable energy, surpassing its Paris Agreement commitment to generate 40 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. Under its Draft Energy Plan, India will stop constructing coal-fired power plants after 2022, other than projects already under development. As the growing demand for energy capacity throughout India coincides with the decreased cost of solar and wind, the country is expected to add 170 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2022, of which 100 gigawatts will come from solar.Tweet