International organizations could be overestimating carbon emissions from China due to some issues related to the calculation of the data, a study suggests.
According to a paper published by Nature on Wednesday, organizations like the EU’s Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) have overestimated China’s emissions by as much as 14 percent by using inappropriate default conversion rates, Reuters reported.
“The main difference in our paper is for the first time we have taken fuel quality into consideration, which is missing from other estimates,” Dabo Guan, Chair of Climate Change Economics at the University of East Anglia, and one of the authors of the Nature study, was quoted as saying.
Taking into account China’s lower quality coal, the study calculated China’s 2013 carbon emissions at 9.13 billion tons, below the EDGAR figure and 5.6 percent lower than an estimate in oil major BP’s statistical yearbook.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends a default “emission factor” of 0.713 ton of carbon for every ton of coal produced, but the Nature authors, looking at around 600 samples from domestic mines, said the figure in China should be closer to 0.518 tons.
While there is no official figure for Chinese carbon emissions last year, estimates stand at around 9-10 billion tons, while forecasts for 2030 range anywhere between 11 billion and 20 billion tons.
“Without an accurate baseline, any target will become a number-crunching game,” Guan said.
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