In order to limit global warming to 1.5°c by the end of the century lots of countries have pledged to a carbon neutral plan. After Europe announcing its objective to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, it is China’s turn to announce its objective to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. How will China be able to achieve its green transition ?
China wants to be carbon neutral by 2060
On September 22, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced China’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2060. This means that by this time, China’s carbon emission would be zero. This is a huge challenge for this country which is currently the world biggest polluting country. Therefore, reaching carbon neutrality within 40 years will ask China to make big efforts.
China preoccupation about environmental concerns is a quite recent phenomenon. As a developing country, China has for a long time said that they should not share the burden of the global warming. The current level of carbon emissions in the country is the result of its decades of very fast industrialization.
It is time to go green for China, one of the biggest polluting country in the world
To understand what China’s impact on the global warming is, here are three figures about the pollution in the country.
- 28% : China is currently the world largest contributor to carbon emissions. The country contributes to 28% of the global emissions.
- 10 billion : In 2018, China emitted more than 10 billion of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As a comparison, this is twice the amount of USA carbon emissions which is the second largest contributor.
- 1,24 million : Air quality in China is a very important issue. Indeed, we estimate that in 2017, 1,24 million people died from pollution in China.
What is China’s Roadmap for achieving its green transition ?
In order to reach carbon neutrality, China has revealed a roadmap of the objectives they have to achieve before 2060.
The first step of the roadmap started this year, in 2020. China has planned to raise the share of green energy to at least 15%. This is an objective that they achieved successfully.
Then, the next step will be in ten years. Xi Jinping told that China aims to reach its peak of carbon emission in 2030. In comparison, Europe hopes to reach this peak five year before China in 2025.
Finally, the last step will be in 2050. Before reaching carbon neutrality in 2060, the strategy for 2050 is to make the green energy count for more than half of the total energy consumption.
However, if China has announced its objective for the next 40 years, the details of the concrete actions that they will implement to achieve these objectives have not been revealed yet. We will have to wait a little longer to know what China really plans to do in order to reach carbon neutrality.
Renewable energies the future of a green China ?
Reach carbon neutrality by 2060 is a very ambitious goal for the country. To do so, China will have to make huge changes in its economy.
Carbon emissions are still increasing over the year. In order to reach its objective, China will have to reverse the tendence. This means increasing its production of renewable energy and reducing coal energy production. Currently, coal is the main source of energy in China with 58% of the electricity coming from coal plants. The main challenge for China will be to change its energy production to more renewable energies.
China has already started its green transition by a mass investment in renewable energy. Indeed, in 2019, the country was the biggest investor in renewable energy in the world with an 87 billion US dollars investment to develop wind and solar energy in the country.
In conclusion, it is great to see China getting involved in the fight against global warming. Now, we will have to wait and see if the country really pursue its commitment and respects its deadlines.
Daxue Consulting. Renewable energy in China: Finding the path to carbon neutrality by 2060. December 2020.
China Dialogue. Researchers unveil roadmap for a carbon neutral China by 2060. October 2020.
Statista. Les plus gros émetteurs de CO2 au monde. November 2020.
Bloomberg. Why China Could Lose Its War on Pollution. October 2020.
The New York Times. China’s Pledge to Be Carbon Neutral by 2060: What It Means. September 2020.
The lancet. The effect of air pollution on deaths, disease burden, and life expectancy across China and its provinces, 1990–2017: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. August 2020.
Investopedia. The 5 Countries That Produce the Most Carbon Dioxide (CO2). October 2020.