China emits more greenhouse gas than the entire developed world combined, a new report has claimed.
The research by Rhodium Group says China emitted 27% of the world’s greenhouse gases in 2019.
The US was the second-largest emitter at 11% while India was third with 6.6% of emissions, the think tank said.
Scientists warn that without an agreement between the US and China it will be hard to avert dangerous climate change.
China’s emissions more than tripled over the previous three decades, the report from the US-based Rhodium Group added.
The Asian giant has the world’s largest population, so its per person emissions are still far behind the US, but the research said those emissions have increased too, tripling over the course of two decades.
China has vowed to reach net-zero emissions by 2060 with a peak no later than 2030.
President Xi Jinping reiterated his pledge at a climate summit organised by US President Joe Biden last month.
“This major strategic decision is made based on our sense of responsibility to build a community with a shared future for mankind and our own need to secure sustainable development,” President Xi said at the time.
However, China is heavily reliant on coal power.
The country is currently running 1,058 coal plants – more than half the world’s capacity.
Under the Paris accord, agreed in 2015, 197 nations pledged to limit global warming to below 2C. However, the world is far from meeting that commitment.
Central to the Paris Agreement are Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These are targets intended to cut emissions.
NDCs represent the commitments by each country – under the Paris pact – to reduce their own national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
According to the Climate Action Tracker, an independent scientific analysis that tracks government climate action, China’s NDC rating is “highly insufficient” and “are not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2C”.
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President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry travelled to China last month to meet counterparts and discuss how to work together to combat climate change, despite diplomatic tensions between the two countries on a range of other issues.
In a joint statement, the two sides committed to working together and with other countries on tackling climate change including specific action on emissions.
Leaders will come together for COP26 – a crucial climate change summit – in November in Glasgow, UK to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.