China Carbon Emissions: Hope for the Future?
China, climate change, and new ambitions
10 years. 10 years is what Xi Jinping has given China before it needs to start driving down carbon emissions to combat climate change. Peak in 10 years and be carbon neutral by 2060.
This is an incredible goal.
But what’s more incredible is that it has to happen. It may seem ambitious, but it’s what is needed for the survival of the human race, as we are already losing countries to climate change’s effects. In fact, China’s efforts alone do not put us on target to reach the goals set by the Paris Accord by the international community in 2015.
It does demonstrate a commitment to climate change solutions from the second largest emitter in the world and bring the discussion in front of the international community again.
In fact, Xi’s announcement at the UN followed a speech by US President Donald Trump, which some consider a calculated move. By bringing climate to the forefront of Xi’s speech, it raises the question of whether or not the US will follow suit. Will the US join forces with the rest of the world to prevent further temperature increases that contribute to catastrophic climate change, or will it continue to prioritize its own short-sighted desires above long-term global needs?
- 10 years: How long Xi JinPing has given China to peak in carbon emissions
- 2060: China wants to be carbon neutral
- 25%+: China’s contribution to the world’s global emissions
- 85%: The current percentage of China’s energy use dependent on fossil fuels
- #2: Place China holds for world carbon emissions (behind the US, who takes the #1 standing in global carbon emissions)
- 2.5˚C: The cap we’ve placed on global average temperature increase before we reach a tipping point and fall into catastrophic feedback loops that will alter the global systems that support life on earth as we currently know it
- 0.3˚C: the highest estimate of temperature reduction from China’s efforts , if they indeed succeed with their peak and carbon neutrality plan.
- 185: The number of countries that have pledged carbon emission reductions to reduce global climate change impacts
- 1: The number of developed countries that have not presented a carbon emissions reduction pledge (America, under Trump)
so how can China do it?
China uses fossil fuels for 85% of its energy. The remainder is filled in by renewable energies, such as wind and solar. To reach the ambitious goal of being carbon neutral in 40 years, China would have to invest in renewable energy infrastructure to replace fossil fuels across the country.
China is also in a unique position to influence the course of energy use across the world, as one of the largest investor in fossil fuels. If Xi’s country reduces its dependency on fossil fuels, the world will undoubtedly see a major shift in access to renewable energy.
Let’s hope Xi’s speech was not lip service, and some concrete plans emerge in the next few months as to how China will pursue these ambitious goals.