What's New :

‘Net zero by 2060: China’s bold new carbon emissions goal’

  • Category
    Climate Change
  • Published
    8th Oct, 2020

In a latest announcement, China has announced it plans to boost country’s Paris climate accord target and called for a green revolution.

Context

In a latest announcement, China has announced it plans to boost country’s Paris climate accord target and called for a green revolution.

Background

  • China’s announcement came just minutes after US President Donald Trump blasted Beijing for “rampant pollution”.
    • The US and China have been hit this year by extreme weather of the kind predicted by scientists to accompany climate change.
    • In China, heavy rains over the summer unleashed the most punishing flood season in about 30 years, while the US is facing one of its busiest hurricane seasons at the same time that record wildfires ravage western states.
  • European officials were also expected to press China to toughen its climate goals.
  • The EU wanted Chinese emissions to peak by 2025 instead of the country’s target date of 2030. 

Analysis

Is it a realistic plan?

  • Going carbon neutral means that China would remove the same amount of carbon it’s emitting into the atmosphere to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
  • So, by 2060, China would theoretically only use clean energy sources and capture or offsetany remaining emissions.
  • But China is yet to define exactly what that would look like.
  • Still, the target puts China more closely in alignment with the European Union, the UK, and other countries that have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changesaid is required to prevent over 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. 

Carbon neutrality

  • The term "carbon neutrality" means releasing no additional CO2 into the atmosphere.
  • Though technically it allows countries to keep emitting if they ensure that an equal amount is captured again in some form.

Stronger set of goals under the Paris Agreement

  • Along with the pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060, China also announced to submit a stronger set of goals under the Paris agreement.
  • China would aim to peak carbon emissions before 2030, upping the commitment from “around” 2030.

Will it be a challenge for China?

  • The goal will be a challenge for China, which relies heavily for its electricity on coal, one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
  • China released the equivalent of 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2, into the atmosphere in 2018, according to the Global Carbon Project that tracks emissions worldwide.
  • That was almost twice as much as the United States and three times as much as the European Union.

Which other countries are on the same path?

  • Twenty-nine nations before China have pledged to achieve climate neutrality in different years, according to the Carbon Neutrality
  • With China, the 30 countries that have some kind of carbon neutrality pledges, account for about 43 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
  • The largest polluting countries not on the list are the United States, India, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, Brazil and Australia.

Conclusion

China has yet to publish an official plan for how it would achieve carbon neutrality, but climate researchers have mapped out pathways. The good news: Researchers say it is possible

X

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now