BEIJING, April 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A news report by China.org.cn on China’s climate action:
Recently, the global problems of climate change and environmental pollution have hit the headlines again, with China and the United States having been pressing ahead with their cooperation on climate change, and the world leaders addressing the climate crisis in a virtual summit last week.
Some Western media still have reservations about China’s emissions-cutting efforts. After flipping through their reports, it’s easy to find out that they can be roughly categorized into two types: One, as the world’s largest CO2 emitter, China is still not aspirational enough; and two, China is more aspirational than actual.
In September 2020, China, for the first time, announced that it aims to hit peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The promise was made when China, with a population of 1.4 billion, was still on course to eradicate poverty, and its industrialization process had only begun a few decades ago.
According to the data shared by relevant economists, when EU peaked carbon emissions in 2006, its GDP per capita was 38,822 international dollars (in PPP of 2017); and when the US peaked emissions in 2007, its GDP per capita was 55,917 international dollars (in PPP of 2017). By comparison, China’s GDP per capita is projected to reach 25,270 international dollars (in PPP of 2017) by 2030. In other words, China has to peak carbon emissions at a development stage completely different from that of developed countries. It has to fulfill this goal before it basically achieves modernization, and then proceed to achieve carbon neutrality in just 30 years. That said, China still made the commitment, outlining higher and clearer targets than those in its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submitted in 2015. China ambitions speak for themselves.
In China’s energy consumption structure, coal accounts for a relatively large proportion, which is due to its natural resource endowment. Through increased investment and technological upgrades, however, China now uses ultra-low emissions technology at 86% of its total coal-fired capacity. It is also working to phase out the loose coal. At the climate summit, President Xi Jinping further pledged to strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th Five-Year Plan period. Now China leads the world in installed solar and wind capacity as well as in solar and wind power generation, raising the non-fossil energy installed capacity to account for 44.8% of the total installed energy capacity. This scale will continue to grow rapidly in the coming five years.
At present, many regions in China are speeding up their efforts to peak emissions ahead of schedule. The steel industry has also announced preliminary goals for capping carbon emissions by 2025. Sichuan Province has gone even further by releasing its plan for achieving carbon neutrality, encouraging individuals and institutions to take actions like planting trees and purchasing carbon credits. Next, China will formulate an action plan for peaking carbon emissions by 2030. More specific measures can be expected to come in the future.
Chinese people value “staying true to the word.” The world has seen how China met its 2020 carbon target ahead of schedule. As cutting emissions matters to the national development and involves the people’s well-being, it’s a challenge China must tackle and overcome, even at great cost. Currently, China-US cooperation on climate change is gathering momentum, which is helpful for China to realize its targets of peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality. It is also of great significance to global climate governance.
Climate Action: China to honor its commitment
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