China sticks to goal of having carbon emissions peak by 2030

9th August, 2021.      //   Climate Change  // 

HONG KONG, Hong Kong (AP) — Despite U.S. and British officials urging it to do more to curb global warming, China’s climate change envoy said Tuesday that the nation will adhere to its target of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and will announce more comprehensive reduction plans shortly.


In an online webinar on climate change, Envoy Xie Zhenhua stated that China would shortly disclose revised plans to decrease emissions and will expound on those plans at a United Nations climate change meeting later this year in Glasgow, Scotland.

China has said that its carbon emissions will peak in 2030 and then begin to fall, with the objective of being carbon neutral by 2060. The world’s top carbon emitter has argued that because it is still a developing nation, it should not be subjected to the same carbon reduction requirements as industrialized countries.

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit will take place in Glasgow in November, with world leaders and climate negotiators attempting to reach an agreement on carbon emission reductions in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and avoid catastrophic climate change effects.

Todd Stern, the former US special envoy for climate change, stated during the same webinar, which was co-hosted by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the think tank Our Hong Kong Foundation, that China has not declared enough plans for the 2020s.

“Peaking (carbon emissions) by 2030 in China cannot get the job done, and I don’t think it represents a best effort to hold to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Stern stated. “Nor is China’s substantial planned expansion of its coal fleet in its 14th Five-Year Plan compatible with what needs to happen.”

Stern stated that what China does or does not do at home has a significant impact not only on its own future but on the entire world, and that China’s global standing and reputation could be severely harmed if it is seen as the primary reason for the failure to keep the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius alive.

Lord Adair Turner, chairman of the United Kingdom’s Energy Transitions Commission, encouraged China to peak its emissions before 2030 and reach zero carbon emissions by 2050 – a decade ahead of schedule — since it will be a wealthy, industrialized country by then.

“I think we need to face a simple mathematical fact that if China does not peak emissions until 2030, I do not think we have anything like a 50/50 chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade (Celsius), nor a 90% chance of keeping global warming below two degrees Centigrade,” Turner said.

According to China’s Xie, various nations have distinct national situations, phases of development, and historical obligations, and China has a higher share of coal as a natural resource than oil and gas.

In comparison to China, he claims that industrialized nations have previously been through industrialization for more than 200 years and are given lengthier timelines to transition from peak carbon emissions to carbon neutrality.

“It is estimated the European Union would need some 60 years in its transition from carbon peak to neutrality or net zero emissions, and the U.S. would need 45 years, while China will strive to achieve this goal in about 30 years,” Xie stated.

“Therefore, in such a short period of time, China still faces many difficulties and challenges to achieve this,” he added. “This is a process, it cannot be achieved all of a sudden.”

Rather than debating whether the target should be 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, Xie encouraged countries to work together to achieve their pledges.

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