Media Release

Climate science: Reassessing China’s
carbon emissions
Climate sciences
London: Wednesday 19 August 2015 18:00 (BST)
New York: Wednesday 19 August 2015 13:00 (EDT)
Tokyo: Thursday 20 August 2015 02:00 (JST)
Sydney: Thursday 20 August 2015 03:00 (AEST)
An analysis of two major sources of China’s carbon dioxide emissions suggests that the
country’s carbon emissions may have been overestimated in recent years. The study is
published in Naturethis week.
Zhu Liu and colleagues reassessed China’s carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and
the production of cement between 1950 and 2013 using new measurements of emission factors
(the amount of carbon oxidized per unit of fuel consumed) and updated energy consumption
data. They estimate that China’s emissions were 14% lower than estimates by the Emission
Database for Global Atmospheric Research in 2013 and 12% lower than the latest inventory
China reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2005. The
authors attribute the difference mainly to the emission factors used to estimate emissions from
coal combustion, and that the emission factors for coal were on average 40% lower than the
default values recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Emissions
from cement production were 32–45% lower than previous estimates.
The findings suggest that overestimation of China’s emissions in 2000–2013 may be larger than
China’s estimated total forest sink in 1990–2007 or China’s land carbon sink in 2000–2009.
Article and author details
1. Reduced carbon emission estimates from fossil fuel combustion
and cement production in China
Corresponding Author
Zhu Liu
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Email: [email protected]
Online paper*
* Please link to the article in online versions of your report (the URL will go live after the embargo ends).
Geographical listings of authors
, China
, France
, Norway
, United Kingdom
& United States