Miscalculations on behalf of global organizations might have resulted in overestimating the carbon emissions from China, as suggested by a new study. According to the authors, it was a matter of inaccuracy to calculate China’s emissions based on the emission factors for a single year.
Academics at Harvard University who led the research explain that previous estimations of China’s fossil-fuel emissions presented a more critical situation than it was the case.
However, it is true that 65 percent of China’s overall primary energy consumption is accounted for by coal, which led analysts to doubt the country will fulfill its pledge to cut emissions per unit of GDP so as to drop below 2005 level by 2030.
Over the last 15 years, coal burning for energy producing has been China’s main drive for the impressively rapid economic growth. But the new estimative paper has taken something new into consideration, something that previous studies have overlooked: the fuel quality.
Because China is among the few countries that keep a vigil eye on its coal qualities through a comprehensive survey, it wasn’t as complicated to integrate this factor in the estimation. But China is also a model for other major coal users – such as Indonesia and India – that need an international effort in order to grasp the quality of their coal types, as well as their coal consumption.
Researchers’ main conclusion was that a substantial overestimation has been plaguing reports in recent years when it comes to Chinese carbon dioxide emissions. Published in the journal Nature, the study recognizes the difficulty of calculating China’s tremendous consumption of coal as the source of the error.
The typical margin of error when it comes to estimating China’s emission ranges from 5 percent to 10 percent. Scientists have been hunting for the real numbers, particularly for reasons of climate talks, as China has been ranked ‘number one contributor to climate change’ during the past decade.
Conventional measures are provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and they usually rely on assumptions about the type of coal being used. And the fact that provincial and national figures often differ greatly is yet another factor that makes it hard for scientists to measure China’s emissions accurately.
According to new and refined estimates, China’s emissions might be slightly less than originally thought. The important message conveyed by this study is that it is possible to get more accurate estimations that can be used to improve our perspective of what is going on. Climate projections can in turn be retuned and new policies on climate change can be better informed.
Image Source: Sustainapedia