A commuter wears a protective mask while waiting at a traffic light during a seasonal sandstorm on April 15, 2021 in the central business district of Beijing, China.
Kevin Frayer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
China, the world’s largest emitter of CO2, is committed to climate change and has set ambitious goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. So far, however, there have been few details on how to get there.
Like many other large countries, China missed a July 30th deadline to submit new climate pledges to the United Nations.
That could change at this year’s COP26, the 26th UN climate conference of the contracting parties, said Gavin Thompson, vice chairman of Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has reportedly received a personal invitation to COP26 but has not confirmed his attendance.
In a September 2 blog post, Thompson outlined five things to expect from China at the upcoming summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
Provide a roadmap
The official submission of China’s national climate targets before COP26, which begins on October 31, is a “critical step” that Beijing now seems ready.
“We should expect much more of how this is accomplished, with key objectives for all Chinese provinces and economic sectors,” Thompson wrote.
To meet his 2060 net zero carbon target, Wood Mackenzie expects China to need an almost “complete transformation of the way energy is generated and delivered,” he added.
Despite pressure from the international community, China has insisted on and will continue to pursue its own net-zero course, Thompson said.
Coal-fired power plants in China are unlikely to be banned until 2025, he predicted. The country’s five-year plan continues to provide support for high-carbon coal.
“The dual goals of energy security and economic growth will fuel China’s pursuit of flexibility in achieving the goals,” he said.
Still, China has invested in renewable and clean energy to meet its goal of carbon dioxide emissions peaking by 2030.
Reject CO2 border tax
Countries with more pressure
China has long believed that the responsibility for reducing global emissions rests with developed countries, Thompson said.
“You broke it, you are fixing it,” he wrote of Beijing’s stance, adding that their position was “not without justification.”
Blaming richer nations also has potential economic benefits for China, as it dominates the supply and processing of most of the raw materials for clean technologies.
“By putting pressure on developed countries to address climate change more urgently, both domestically and through increased financial support for poorer countries, Beijing is capitalizing on much of the economic benefits that are likely to flow back to China,” the WoodMac said. Note.
Position yourself as a leader
Beijing was trying to present itself as a world leader on climate change in 2020 when the Trump administration left that position blank, Thompson wrote. Under the former President Donald Trump, the United States withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
But with the Biden government taking a “radically different approach,” China must now work harder to become a real leader.
“This should encourage bolder policies around carbon and technology, as without them China’s reputation and global standing could be undermined by US ambitions,” he wrote.
The US and China held talks on climate change last week, but tensions between the two sides came to the fore when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said climate protection cooperation could not be separated from the broader relationship, Reuters reported.
US Climate Ambassador John Kerry responded by telling Chinese leaders that climate change is more important than politics.