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Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Note: OECD tally includes all European Union member states; Chart: Axios Visuals

The distribution of global greenhouse gas emissions has reached an inflection point: China's emissions exceeded developed nations combined in 2019, a new Rhodium Group analysis concludes.

Why it matters: "The shifting dynamics of global emissions — with China surpassing the developed world for the first time — means that meeting the Paris goals will require significant and rapid action from all countries," Kate Larsen, a director at Rhodium, tells Axios.

The big picture: Rhodium compared China's emissions to nations in the multilateral Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as of 2019 and all 27 EU members. The chart above shows totals.

  • The analysis also showed that on a per-capita basis, China's 2019 emissions were close to the OECD average. The firm expects that the final 2020 data will show China's per-capita emissions exceeded the OECD average.
  • Rhodium's Larsen notes China's per-capita rise stems from higher living standards, China's relatively fossil-intensive power mix and its export-focused manufacturing.

What we're watching: The steps China takes — or doesn't — in coming years to breathe life into its pledge to have its emissions peak before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2060.

By the numbers: China's emissions are over a quarter of the world's total. Their per-capita emissions were over 10 tons of CO2-equivalent in 2019, but that's still far below the world-leading U.S. at 17.6 tons, per Rhodium.

Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Note: OECD tally includes all European Union member states; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, but: China's emissions look very different when measured on a historical basis.

Why it matters: It helps explain why nations that industrialized first bear such responsibility for tackling warming, even as emissions growth is centered in the Asia-Pacific.

The big picture: "A large share of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere each year hangs around for hundreds of years. As a result, current global warming is the result of emissions from both the recent and more distant past," Rhodium notes.

Go deeper

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The U.S. is the last major power to enter the race for global vaccine diplomacy, but still has the opportunity to win it.

Why it matters: China, Russia and other world powers began shipping vaccines all over the world months before the U.S. But they've all run into serious obstacles that leave the U.S. with an opening to become the biggest piece in the global vaccination puzzle.

Updated May 5, 2021 - Science

World risks runaway Antarctic ice melt if Paris targets not met

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The world runs a growing risk of triggering accelerating and potentially unstoppable sea level rise from the Antarctic ice sheet if greenhouse gas emissions are not strictly curtailed. However, this fate can be avoided if the Paris Agreement's targets are met, according to two new studies published Wednesday.

Why it matters: At stake is the viability of coastal megacities like Shanghai, Manila and New York City, as well as entire nations like the low-lying Maldives. The severity of sea level rise depends largely on the pace and extent of ice melt from the world's two largest ice sheets: Antarctica and Greenland.

Exclusive: EV charging providers to allow roaming across their networks

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Greenlots, Chargepoint and several other electric vehicle charging companies will allow roaming access across their networks, a move that could help speed EV adoption.

Why it matters: Your phone works on any mobile network, no matter which provider you use. And you can use any bank's ATM machine, regardless of where you keep your money. Now the same will be true of EV charging.