Just as U.S. emissions are sneaking back up to 2005 levels, greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage in China could be on their way back down, says a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. This analysis shows Chinese emissions peaking between 2025 and 2030, and energy use starting to drop as early as 2025 and leveling out before 2050:
[T]he overall picture is that with current policy China can slow its energy growth, meet its 2020 greenhouse gas limitation commitment made at Copenhagen and Cancun, and start to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms within the next two decades.
This finding relies on several assumptions about China's energy use in the future, including a sharp reduction in coal's share of energy production, an increase in nuclear power, and a widespread switch to electric cars. But with those changes, China's energy use and emissions could stabilize even as its population increases.
A Surprise: China's Energy Consumption Will Stabilize, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.