Greenhouse gas emissions from current and enhanced policies of China until 2030: Can emissions peak before 2030?

Michel den Elzen*, Hanna Fekete, Niklas Höhne, Annemiek Admiraal, Nicklas Forsell, A.F. Hof, J.G.J. Olivier, Mark Roelfsema, Heleen van Soest

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

203 Citations (Scopus)


In June 2015, China announced its post-2020 reduction targets, its central element being the intention to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 or earlier. China has implemented several policies to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This study provides emission projections for China up to 2030 given current policies and a selected set of enhanced policies, and compares the results with projected CO2 emission trajectories that are consistent with the announced target for 2030. The projections are based on existing scenarios and energy system and land use model calculations. We project that the 2030 CO2 emission level consistent with a peak in CO2 emissions by 2030 ranges from 11.3 to 11.8 GtCO2. The corresponding total GHG emission level ranges from 13.5 to 14.0 GtCO2e in 2030. Current policies are likely not to be sufficient to achieve the 2030 targets, as our projected total GHG emission level under current policies ranges from 14.7 to 15.4 GtCO2e by 2030. However, an illustrative set of enhancement policy measures, all of which are related to national priorities, leads to projected GHG emission levels from 13.1 to 13.7 GtCO2e by 2030 - and thus below the levels necessary for peaking CO2 emissions before 2030.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-236
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Climate agreement
  • National climate and energy policies
  • Renewable targets


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