China’s Pledge to be Carbon Neutral by 2060 – Here’s what you need to know | Part 1
On 12 December 2020, Chinese President Xi announced new 2030 climate targets via video link to the Climate Ambition Summit organized by the UN, the UK and France. This was the second time in three months that China boosted its climate commitments to target carbon neutrality by 2060.
This little-known fact surprises experts and the international community. This week, we’re looking deeper into the subject and the potential opportunities for you – tech companies based in Europe.
What does the pledge mean?
Carbon neutrality refers to a status where carbon dioxide emissions and removals balance out to zero, usually done through carbon offsetting or simply eliminating carbon dioxide emissions altogether.
Chinese government claimed that over the next five years and beyond, China will control the aggregate amount and intensity of energy consumption, reduce the use of fossil energy and advance the low-carbon transition of sectors including industry, construction and transportation, according to the draft outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives through the year 2035.
The outline also noted that China will further transform its energy consumption structure by promoting the wider use of clean and renewable energy during the 2021-2025 period.
By 2030, China aims to lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65 percent from the 2005 level, raise the share of non-fossil energy in primary energy use to around 25 percent, and bring the total installed capacity of wind and solar electricity to more than 1.2 billion kilowatts.
Why is China making the claim now?
China has long argued that as a developing economy it should not have to share the same burden of curbing emissions as developed nations, as the world's largest carbon emitter, Why China surprisingly announces its very ambitious goal which leaves the country a very big task and tight action table.
Our extensive research concludes the following:
The immense economic opportunities and geopolitical advantages of a low-carbon transition
Firstly, China has positioned itself as a leading manufacturer of green technologies, from electric vehicles to solar panels to wind turbines. It is therefore poised to meet growing global demand for cleaner technologies.
Secondly, China can reduce its dependence on energy imports through a savvy combination of expanding renewable electricity generation and electrifying transport, industry, heating and cooling.
A new global image for China is much needed
Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, touted the growth of renewable energy, saying China’s capacity now accounted for 30 percent of the world’s total. Meeting the new goals “reflects China’s willingness to work with other countries to build a vigorous, clean and beautiful world and its responsibility to build a community with a shared future for mankind” .
President Xi’s pledge is an important contribution to global efforts to tackle climate change. It also provided Beijing with the chance to score a relatively easy diplomatic win, being used as further evidence that it is the US not China which seeks to upend current international systems.
Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog,where we’ll talk about the possible technology roadmaps for China to achieve its ambitious goal as well as challenges.