Belt And Road Countries Will Make Or Break Paris Agreement

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Chinese investments are driving higher carbon emissions pathways in Belt and Road nations, a new report finds.

Developing countries are forecast to emit more carbon dioxide than developed ones by mid-century. Chinese investment is projected to speed up that process in key countries linked to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s global infrastructure plan, according to a new report.

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The study, authored by researchers at Tsinghua University, Vivid Economics, and ClimateWorks Foundation, provides the first model of how carbon emissions will grow for BRI countries, and incorporates the effect of Chinese investment.

By 2050, the annual emissions of the BRI countries studied will far exceed the target levels for complying with the Paris climate agreement to keep global warming below 2C, they find.

This is projected to be the case even if the countries develop in line with the lowest carbon pathways in history. But Chinese investments are in fact driving BRI countries down higher carbon routes.

Belt and Road countries to dominate global emissions

In the coming decades, BRI countries will contribute a much larger share of global emissions, the study finds.

“From a forward-looking perspective,” write the authors, “the biggest climate risk and opportunity lies in our ability to support a low-carbon development pathway for the group of more than 120 nations”.

Considering historical precedents, in the 17 key countries studied carbon emissions are forecast to grow from 14% of the global annual total in 2015 to 44% in 2050, if the rest of the world follows the 2C pathway established in Paris. According to the report, these countries account for almost half of the total emissions from BRI countries.

(Based on modelling focused on the 17 key BRI countries. Source: IEA (2017), Vivid Economics based on IEA (2018a, 2018b))

The ways ahead

For the greater group of 126 countries signed onto the BRI, emissions are projected to grow from 28% in 2015 to 66% in 2050. If they follow the most carbon-intensive growth paths in history, these countries could bring about 2.7C of warming even if the rest of the world meets the 2C target.

“What this report highlights loud and clear,” said Elizabeth Losos, a senior fellow at Duke University, “is if we don’t really start taking this into account both from the side of China as a lender but also the countries as recipients, we are going to bust through 2C.”

Courtesy: thethirdpole.net

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