Analysis: China’s CO2 emissions see first quarterly fall since post-lockdown surge

China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell by around 0.5% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to a year earlier, new analysis for Carbon Brief shows.

The year-on-year decline in emissions from fossil fuels and cement is a marked turnaround from the approximately 9% increase in the first half of the year, when the Chinese economy surged back from the coronavirus pandemic on a wave of stimulus spending.

Moreover, the declining trend in the third quarter steepened into September – the first month during which monthly emissions returned to 2019 levels – and looks set to deepen further in October, based on preliminary data.

Chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.

This analysis is based on official figures for the domestic production, import and export of fossil fuels and cement, as well as commercial data on changes in stocks of stored fuel. In the case of coal and natural gas, the growth rates are adjusted to match officially reported quarterly growth rates, when available.

It is the latest in a series of quarterly Carbon Brief updates, with the previous one having reported early signs of China’s emissions growth cooling in the second quarter of 2021.

Continue reading the full analysis over on Carbon Brief.