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Opportunities to Advance Mitigation Ambition in China: Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Non–carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a substantial driver of climate change and have significant negative impacts on air quality, human health, and food production. In 2014, the last year with official data, non-GHG emissions in China were greater than total GHG emissions in Japan or Brazil.

China’s policy development since 2015 has led to a significantly lower non-CO2 GHG emissions trajectory than expected under policies as of 2015. This paper estimates that non-CO2 GHG emissions will grow modestly until 2030 under current policies, remain flat between 2030 and 2040, and then begin a more significant decline.

There is significant potential to further reduce non- CO2 GHG emissions beyond the effects of current policies. With additional actions, China could further mitigate 1.5–3.0 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) cumulative emissions between 2020 and 2030. The country’s non-CO2 emissions can stabilize as early as 2020 at a level lower than expected under the current policies trajectory.

Key mitigation prospects include reducing hydrofluorocarbons, methane emissions from coal mines, as well as nitrous oxide from nitric and adipic acid production.

China does not have a quantitative top-line target for non-CO2 GHGs in its nationally determined contribution (NDC). The country should enhance its NDC in 2020 by establishing ambitious and precise targets for non-CO2 GHG reduction and implement actions correspondingly. The country should also identify additional ways to further reduce non-CO2 emissions by 2025.

Key Findings

Executive Summary

Full executive summary in the paper.

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