September 13, 2019

Belt and Road Countries Will Make or Break the Paris Agreement

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Developing countries are forecast to emit more carbon dioxide than developed ones by mid-century. Chinese investment is projected to speed up that process in key countries linked to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s global infrastructure plan, according to a new report.

The study, authored by researchers at Tsinghua University, Vivid Economics, and ClimateWorks Foundation, provides the first model of how carbon emissions will grow for BRI countries, and incorporates the effect of Chinese investment. By 2050, the annual emissions of the BRI countries studied will far exceed the target levels for complying with the Paris climate agreement to keep global warming below 2°C, they find.

“What this report highlights loud and clear is if we don’t really start taking this into account both from the side of China as a lender but also the countries as recipients, we are going to bust through 2°C," Elizabeth Losos, a senior fellow at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, told China Dialogue.