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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Carbon emissions from China could peak as soon as 2021, which is nine years before the voluntary deadline in their Paris agreement pledge, a new peer-reviewed study finds.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest carbon emitter. The trajectory of its emissions affect whether the world has any chance of meeting the Paris temperature goals — or, more likely, how much they're overshot.

What they did: The paper in Nature Sustainability looks at China's urbanization trends and the emissions increases that come with it.

  • They explore China's massive existing and developing cities and growing wealth through the lens of an environmental "Kuznets curve."
  • It's the idea that per-capita emissions initially rise alongside per-capita GDP, but it's a bell-shaped curve in which higher incomes are eventually correlated with emissions decline.

What they found: China's cities and urban centers defy blanket characterization — they note a "great diversity in CO2 emissions and trends among individual cities." But in the aggregate...

"We project that China’s total emissions from fossil fuel and industrial processes will peak at 13–16GtCO2 at some point 5–10 yr ahead of 2030 on the basis of data from the 50 Chinese cities studied here over the period 2000–2016."

The intrigue: The paper says that policymakers will need to tailor policies to the characteristics of different cities and regions and their stage of development.

  • For cities in economically advanced regions where industrial emissions may have already peaked or are close, that means more attention to lower-carbon lifestyles, efficient buildings, transport and renewables deployment.
  • But for other areas seeing fast industrialization and urbanization, "efforts to constrain emissions should focus more on industrial sectors."
  • In addition, it emphasizes the need to prevent "carbon leakage," whereby energy-intensive industries are just moved out the most developed cities.

Go deeper, via Carbon Brief: China’s emissions ‘could peak 10 years earlier than Paris climate pledge

Go deeper

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.