So this was a fairly surprising announcement a few weeks ago. It was almost missed by the news altogether despite it being one of the biggest climate stories in the last few decades.
China has said it aims to “have CO2 emissions peak by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2060”.
This is HUGE!!!!!!! This puts global CO2 targets back on track. One third of all CO2 emissions could be wiped by 2060. Even if it doesn’t go to zero it will still be huge progress. Strictly speaking we should have said CO2 equivalent or Net Zero for Greenhouse Gases but the terminology is no that important really.
How and why is this happening? Well, for starters China has a single government and no elections thus they can play the long game without caring about popularity and voters. Secondly, in the same way governments own oil companies, China can own renewables and sell back to its people which makes it massively viable.
Also the huge investment needed will raise China’s GDP by about 5% and make the country richer. It also has knock on effects around the world for supply chains originating in China who will now have a reduced impact (depending on who is allowed to claim the reduction).
It is a huge story and a massive step forward. Their governance may not be perfect (hard to be critical of other governments at the moment though) but they have made a huge commitment and one that will power their economy and make them much richer as a nation, something that won’t go down well with many countries who keep saying it is too expensive and not viable. It’s totally undermined the world’s procrastination.
It’s good for China in all kinds of ways, as the world fails to act it is encouraging to see this action. China are not a country that does things by halves, nor a country the West likes to be “outdone” by. Even now there will be people in the UN and USA working on new ideas. Politically they can ignore or beat this pledge. No one wants to be seen as being “led” by China for fear of it looking like weakness.
It’s an incredible story but one almost ignored by the media. China take a disproportionate amount of blame for climate change but are actually doing more than almost anyone else.