With COP26 coming up, Western media and politicians are trying to shift responsibility for the future of the planet on to China, as the world’s biggest emitter (in absolute terms) of greenhouse gases.
They present a distorted and hypocritical narrative that fails to mention some important facts:
- China’s per capita emissions are less than half those of the US, and its average household power consumption is 1/8th that of the US.
- China is the world leader in renewable energy, with a total capacity greater than the US, EU and Britain combined.
- China’s target of peak emissions by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060 will be the fastest journey from carbon peak to carbon neutral in history.
- China is making a concerted effort to reduce its reliance on coal. Coal is currently 56% of China’s power mix, down from 74% in 2005.
- China’s forest coverage has increased from 12% in the early 1980s to 23% today. It has established national parks covering 230,000 km squared.
- China leads the world in electric cars, trains and buses – around 99 percent of the world’s 400,000 electric buses are in China.
In summary, China is making remarkable progress on climate change. Let’s shift the focus back to the developed countries – which are responsible for the bulk of cumulative atmospheric greenhouse gas – to show leadership and provide support to the rest of the world.