China Suspected of Underreporting Emissions, with Japanese Satellite Finding More CO2

A roundtable on commercializing hydrogen is held at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai on Tuesday.

DUBAI — China is suspected of underreporting carbon dioxide emissions in the country, according to an analysis by the Environment Ministry of satellite data.

The ministry has compiled a report that says the annual rise in CO2 concentrations is about 1.5 to three times higher than estimates based on emission sources and other data from China. It concludes that the data from China is likely inaccurate.

The report is to be presented at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai as early as Saturday.

According to the report, Japan’s Ibuki satellite for tracking greenhouse gases observed annual increases in CO2 concentration between 0.6 and 1.2 ppm at about 77,000 locations in China from 2009 to 2022.

But an international database, based on fossil fuel consumption data and the number of power plants reported by each country, puts the annual increase for China at a lower 0.2-0.8 ppm.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The ministry also examined the data for Japan and the United States under similar conditions and found no discrepancies between the satellite observations and the database figures.

“Even if targets to cut greenhouse gases are set, they are meaningless if there are discrepancies [between reported and actual figures] that are beyond the margin of error,” an official at the ministry said. “Japan will help ensure data transparency through satellite observations,” they added.