China is the biggest CO2 emitter in the world as a result of its sharply increasing energy needs which are mainly met by the use of coal.
A new European Coach project was launched in Beijing in November 2006 and is part of a partnership agreement signed at the beginning of 2006 between the European Union and China. The project focuses on ways of tackling climate change.
The aim of Coach is to provide the technical recommendations required to design a coal-fired power station incorporating CO2 capture and storage technologies, to be constructed in China by 2010. The power station is expected to be industrially operational by 2015. Mature hydrocarbon fields located in the Beijing region have been identified as potential storage sites.
Estimates demonstrated that in 1997, the rate of smoke prevention and particulate and dust control reached 88.4%. It was also estimated that most larger power plants in China had emissions control devices for particulates. In spite of these estimates, efficiencies vary widely. More than 98% of particulate matter can be removed, with electricity costs increasing only by between 1-3%.
China is a non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, meaning it has not agreed to binding emissions reductions in the Kyoto Protocol, which it ratified in August 2002. China’s domestic greenhouse-gas reduction activities are based on “no-regrets” strategies in energy efficiency and conservation, clean energy supply and reforestation. In other words, policies are enacted to cut energy costs and reduce local pollution, while having the auxiliary benefit of reducing carbon emissions.
In a business-as-usual scenario (BAU), China’s CO2 emissions could increase annually by 3.8% to 5,322 Mt by the year 2010, and to 7,081 Mt by the year 2020, which would then see China accounting for some 19% of total world CO2 emissions. With 12.7% of the world’s total CO2 emissions, China is currently the second largest emitter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions after the United States. This underlines the importance of China to the ultimate solution to the climate change question.