China is the world’s leading emitter of heat-trapping gases other than carbon dioxide. In 2017,
such emissions were likely in the range of 2.0–2.5 Gt CO2e—roughly one-fifth of total Chinese
emissions. (Data with respect to these other heat-trapping gases are not as good or current
as data with respect to CO2, making precise estimates difficult.)21
After CO2, the most significant heating trapping gas is methane. Estimates of Chinese methane emissions for 2012 range from 1.17 to 1.75 Gt CO2e—roughly 10%–15% of total Chinese emissions of heat-trapping gases. Methane emissions in China come from coal mining, rice farming, waste disposal, livestock production and leakage during production and distribution of natural gas, among other sources.22
China is a major producer and consumer of HFCs, a pollutant used in refrigeration and air
conditioning with a global warming potential more than 10,000 times greater per molecule
than CO2. China’s HFC production in 2010 was 230 million tons, of which 150 million tons was
for domestic consumption.23
21. Data with respect to other heating trapping gases are not as good or current as data with respect to CO2. The estimate of 2.0–2.5 Gt CO2e in 2017 is based on Jiang Lin, Nina Khanna and Angela Xu Liu, “Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” Berkeley-Tsinghua Joint Research Center Working Paper (May 2018) at p.iv (Figure ES-1) (roughly 2.1 Gt CO2e in 2017); People’s Republic of China, “First Biennial Update Report on Climate Change” (December 2016) at p.22 (2.0 Gt CO2e in 2012); and World Bank Data, “World Development Indicators, Trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions” at Table 3.9, http://wdi.worldbank.org/table/3.9 (2.6 Gt CO2e in 2012). The estimate of 2.0–2.5 Gt CO2e in 2017 is consistent with the difference between Climate Action Tracker’s estimate of 11.76 Gt CO2e and BP’s and IEA’s estimates of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels (9.23 Gt and 9.1 Gt).
22. See People’s Republic of China, “First Biennial Update Report on Climate Change” (December 2016) at p.22 (1.17 Gt CO2e in 2012); World Bank Data, “Trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions” at Table 3.9 (1.75 Gt CO2e in 2012); Lin, Khanna and Liu, “Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (May 2018); Shannon Brink et al., “Methane Mitigation Opportunities in China” (February 2013) at pp.13–14, https://www.princeton.edu/~mauzeral/teaching/WWS591e_Methane_Workshop_FinalReport%202013.pdf.
23. Junjie Zhang and Can Wang, “China’s hydrofluorocarbon challenge,” Nature Climate Change (November 2014) at pp.1–3, http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n11/full/nclimate2377.html?WT.ec_id=NCLIMATE-201411
24. People’s Republic of China, “First Biennial Update Report on Climate Change” (December 2016) at p.22 (2.0 Gt CO2e in 2012).