China’s Emissions Won’t Peak Before Per Capita GDP Reaches US$40,000: Xie Zhenhua

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Oct. 7 – China’s emissions peak is unlikely to come before the nation’s GDP per capita surpasses US$40,000, a high-ranking government official told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations climate change talks in Tianjin this week.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s top climate change official and vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, noted that some developed nations have still not reached their emissions peak despite the fact that their GDP was more than 10 times greater than China’s.

“Under such circumstances, how can you ask China, with a per capita GDP of just over US$3,000, to foresee its peak?” he asked.

Xie suggested that the country’s greenhouse gas emissions would peak earlier if developed nations were more willing to provide financing and transfer key technologies in the clean energy sector.

“We will try to get passed the peak of emissions as early as possible, but this also hinges on how much money the developed nations will offer and what technology they will transfer as required by international protocols,” Xie said. “The more money they provide, or the earlier the money arrives, the sooner we should be able to pass the emissions peak.”