The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has precipitated the most severe global recession since the 1930s. The International Monetary Fund recently projected that the global economy could contract significantly by 4.9 per cent year-over-year (YOY) in 2020. And China, once a seemingly unstoppable economic juggernaut, saw its economy decline by 6.8 per cent YOY in the first quarter of 2020. The last time China reported an economic contraction was at the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, more than four decades ago.
The second largest economy after the United States, China ranks first in the world in terms of energy production, energy consumption, carbon emissions, power generation, the clean-energy market and imports of coal, oil and gas. In 2019, fuel combustion in China accounted for about 29 per cent of global carbon emissions, and coal-fired power plants in China alone represented near half of global capacity. Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on China’s energy sector is important not only for the country’s own energy transition but also for the global climate agenda.
With the COVID-19 China Energy Impact Tracker, we at Agora Energiewende regularly provide up-to-date information on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted China’s energy sector, covering the sector-level development of energy supply, consumption, carbon emissions and other key indicators. The COVID-19 China Energy Impact Tracker will feature a series of reports aiming to better inform the international community and Chinese audiences alike about COVID-19’s effects on the Chinese energy economy.