China makes further key pledges around carbon neutrality and renewable energy

The following article, first published in Xinhua on 25 October 2021, summarises a new document jointly released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, reiterating China’s pledges to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and zero carbon by 2060. It includes a new commitment to increase the share of non-fossil energy consumption to at least 80 percent by 2060.

Chinese authorities on Sunday unveiled a guiding document on the country’s work to achieve carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals under the new development philosophy, laying out key specific targets and measures for the coming decades.

By 2030, China’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will peak, stabilize and then decline, and by 2060, China will be carbon neutral and have fully established a green, low-carbon and circular economy, it says, reiterating the country’s previous pledge.

“We are firmly committed to a green, low-carbon and high-quality development path that gives primacy to ecological civilization,” says the document titled “Working Guidance for Carbon Dioxide Peaking and Carbon Neutrality in Full and Faithful Implementation of the New Development Philosophy.”

The document, jointly released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, outlines five major tasks, including creating a green, low-carbon and circular economy, improving energy efficiency, increasing the share of non-fossil energy consumption, lowering CO2 emissions and boosting the carbon sink capacity of ecosystems.

China aims to gradually increase the share of non-fossil energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2025, around 25 percent by 2030, and over 80 percent by 2060, it says.

In 2019, non-fossil energy accounted for 15.3 percent of total energy consumption in China, up 5.6 percentage points against 2012.

By 2025, the country’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be lowered by 18 percent from the 2020 level, and by 2030 will have dropped by more than 65 percent compared with the 2005 level.

By 2025, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP will be lowered by 13.5 percent from the 2020 level, the forest coverage rate will have reached 24.1 percent, and the forest stock volume will have risen to 18 billion cubic meters.

By 2030, China’s total installed capacity of wind power and solar power will reach over 1,200 gigawatts, the forest coverage rate will have reached about 25 percent, and the forest stock volume will have reached 19 billion cubic meters.

By 2060, China will have fully established a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system, with energy efficiency reaching the advanced international level, according to the guideline.

“These targets are set in light of China’s development stage and own situation, and indicate that China will complete the world’s most dramatic reduction in carbon emission intensity, and realize carbon neutrality from carbon peaking in the shortest time in global history,” said an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Compared with developed countries, China faces a relatively tight time window to reach carbon neutrality after CO2 emission peak and is in urgent need of enhancing top-level design, the official told Xinhua.

The document details measures such as promoting comprehensive green transformation in economic and social development, carrying out in-depth industrial restructuring, accelerating the development of a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system and accelerating the construction of a low-carbon transportation system.

China will also improve the quality of green and low-carbon development in urban and rural areas, strengthen research and application of technologies, continue to consolidate and improve carbon sink capacity, promote a green and low-carbon mode of opening up, and improve related laws, regulations, standards as well as policy mechanisms, it says.

The guideline is the overarching document of China’s “1+N” policy framework for carbon peaking and neutrality, and will, together with an action plan for carbon dioxide peaking before 2030, constitute the top-level design to help accomplish the carbon goals.

Authorities are working on a number of sector- or industry-specific implementation plans, which will be put in place to arrange the work related to areas including energy, industries, transport and urban and rural construction.

Supporting plans involving issues such as scientific and technological assistance, energy security, carbon sink capacities, as well as fiscal, financial and price policies will also be rolled out to complete the policy system, according to the NDRC official.

One thought on “China makes further key pledges around carbon neutrality and renewable energy”

  1. Decarbonisation in exchange for electrification and magnetisation.

    We will find out in a few decades whether this is good or bad, but one thing is certain: there will be no turning back then.

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