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China Commits to Enhance Climate Action

Coal News - Published on Thu, 24 Sep 2020

Image Source: China Climate Action
Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping during his speech to the UN General Assembly announced that China will enhance its climate change ambitions. President Mr Xi said that China will scale-up its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement by peaking CO2 emissions before 2030 and adopting more vigorous policies. He also announced an aim for China to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Mr Xi said in a virtual address “The Paris accord outlines the minimum steps to be taken to protect the Earth, our shared homeland, and all countries must take decisive steps to honor this agreement. We aim to have C02 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. We call on all countries to pursue innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all, seizing the historic opportunities presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation."

Given changes in China’s economy, it is likely to already be on a trajectory to peak CO2 emissions around 2025. Therefore, strong additional measures will need to be taken in order to significantly decrease its emissions. The Chinese government’s upcoming 14th Five-Year Plan is an important opportunity to detail the roadmap for ambitious and concrete actions from 2021-2025 to deliver on the high-level signals communicated.

This announcement is the starting bell on the next critical leg of the race for the world, especially all major climate polluters, to significantly strengthen their climate actions in the next year. China’s ambition shows how countries can simultaneously prioritize revitalizing their economies and protecting the climate.

This builds on the push from the European Union with the European Commission proposing to strengthen its climate targets to cut emissions 55 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, a significant strengthening from their original target of at least a 40 percent cut under the Paris Agreement.

During a joint announcement with President Obama in 2014, China committed to peak CO2 emissions around 2030. Through peaking CO2 emissions in 2025 by capping coal consumption by 2020, China could cut emissions by at least 2.5 billion tonnes per year by 2030. China is already on the way to meeting this action, having cut its coal consumption by 9.4 percent from 2013-16, implemented a target to reduce the share of coal in total energy consumption from 64 percent in 2015 to 58 percent by 2020, and led the world in installing wind and solar power.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us that in order to have a good chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, global emissions should reach net zero by 2050. Therefore, all major emitters need to play a responsible role in setting a clear trajectory to net zero emissions by 2050, if not before.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Thu, 24 Sep 2020
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