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Hubacek paper questions carbon reporting in China

There may be over 20 percent more carbon emitted in China than is reported

A paper in Nature Climate Change by Faculty Associate Klaus Hubacek and colleagues Dabo Guan, Zhu Liu, Yong Geng, and Sören Lindner tries to explain the gap between provincial-level and national-level reporting statistics on the output of carbon in China. The team compiled CO2 emission inventories for China and its 30 provinces for the period 1997–2010. They found, however, that CO2 emissions calculated on the basis of the two publicly available official energy data sets differ by 1.4 gigatonnes for 2010. The figure is equivalent to Japan’s annual CO2 emissions, the world’s fourth largest emitter with 5% of the global total.

Brad Plumer of the Washington Post picked up the story and posted it on the Wonkblog edited by Ezra Klein. He calls the missing data "a critical mystery. Right now," he writes, "the International Energy Agency thinks we’re on pace to warm the planet by a staggering 6°C by the end of the century. But that’s based on China’s national-level data. What if the provincial-level data is correct and China’s emissions are actually 20 percent higher? Suddenly the picture looks even hotter."

See the complete Wonkblog post

See the paper in Nature Climate Change