Gradual reductions in coal in China and India put the two countries on track to better their carbon emissions goals.
According to Climate Action Tracker forecasts, greenhouse gas emissions from both countries are growing more slowly than previously predicted. The difference projects roughly 2 to 3 billion tons annually by 2030.
That would be sufficient to offset the expected underperformance of the U.S. — the number two contributor to world carbon emissions, behind China and ahead of India.
American President Donald Trump rolled back the country's emission controls, putting U.S. on track to miss its Paris Pledge mark. The U.S. is now on track to emit 400 million metric tons more than previously projected by 2030, the analysts said.
But, the other two top emitters are ardently fighting climate change by cutting coal use and boosting renewables. "Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping — or even slowing — coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these countries," said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, one of the research consortium members. "Recent observations show they are now on the way toward overcoming this challenge."
China and India are systematically implementing measures to curb climate change. Their projected combined reduction would compensate for the U.S.'s rollback of its policy.
Carbon Tracker stated that, although China's emission continues to grow overall, its CO2 emissions from energy use seemingly peaked over a decade ahead of its Paris Agreement commitment. The nation's coal consumption has declined for three consecutive years, according to the report.
Beijing recently canceled plans for over 100 new coal-fired power plants, some of which were already under construction. Cancellation of those plants, totaling 120 gigawatts of capacity, adds up to savings of about 750 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That's about equivalent to the amount that the U.S. cut its annual emissions from 2007 to 2015 by.
Meanwhile, India is on track to be eight years ahead of its 2030 goal of using renewable energy to provide electricity to 40 percent of its population. Renewable energy is on the rise as solar photovoltaic costs are continuously trending down in the country. Analysts projects that 57 percent of India will rely on renewable energy by 2027, if the new electricity plan is implemented.
India's Paris Pledge was to lower emissions by 33 to 35 percent over the same period. Carbon Tracker projects that India will surpass that mark to achieve a 42 to 45 percent cut.
India canceled four coal-fired power projects last year.
China is on track to better its goal to reduce emissions by 64 to 70 percent below its 2005 levels by 2030.
The cuts in energy demand in China and India are significant because their economies are growing at 7 percent annually; much faster than the world average of 2.7 percent, according to the World Bank.
Despite their recent successes in slowing their carbon emissions growth, Climate Action Tracker noted that emissions still were on track to continue growing in both China and India overall.
The analysts rated both China and India's climate plans as "medium," but said that Trump's planned policies could downgrade U.S. from "medium" to "inadequate."