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China announces to cut fossil fuel consumption to 20% by 2060, but makes no new emissions commitments

While the document detailed new measures on how the world’s biggest polluter will decarbonize, the country is not updating its commitment to cut emissions.

The directives come less than a week before world leaders travel to Glasgow, Scotland for crucial international climate talks at COP26. There, they will be expected to come up with a plan to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions during this decade.

Xi has not left China since the start of the pandemic and is unlikely to attend COP26 in person. The government has yet to announce details of its summit delegation.

The official document sheds light on how Xi intends to meet previous commitments to peak emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Carbon neutrality, or net zero emissions, is achieved when so many Greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere than what is emitted, so the net added amount is zero.
China’s ability to meet its climate commitments has come under scrutiny in recent months. China was fueling its coronavirus-linked economic recovery by building dozens of new coal-fired power plants and ramping up fossil-fuel-dependent construction projects, and it recently increased coal production to ease an ongoing energy crisis.
Last week, the Chinese government ordered the country’s coal mines to “produce as much coal as possible” after weeks of power shortages in many provinces.
Coal is also China’s main source of energy and is widely used for heating, power generation and steel fabrication. Last year, it accounted for nearly 60% of the country’s energy consumption.

The new guidelines, released by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, indicate that China will phase out its consumption of fossil fuels. By 2030, China has said the proportion of the energy it uses from non-fossil fuel sources will reach 25%. Thirty years later, China aims to have 80% of its total energy consumption come from non-fossil fuels, according to the document, according to Xinhua.

By 2030, China said its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP will fall by 65% ​​from 2005 levels.

China is already a world leader in renewable energy production, but will need to increase its capacity in wind and solar to meet its climate goals. By 2030, China aims for its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to reach more than 1,200 gigawatts, Xinhua said.

China announces to cut fossil fuel consumption to 20% by 2060, but makes no new emissions commitments

Previously, China pledged that renewable energies represent 25% of its installed electric capacity, and that wind and solar represent 16.5% of Chinese energy by 2025.

To achieve its climate goals, China will carry out “a deep industrial restructuring, accelerating the development of a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system” and accelerate the “construction of a low-carbon transport system” , according to Xinhua.

However, China has said it needs to ensure food and energy security as it decarbonises. Beijing pushed coal mines to cut production earlier this year as the country pursued its ambitious carbon emissions reduction targets. But demand has increased for projects that require fossil fuels, and there hasn’t been enough electricity for everyone.

China should “manage the relationship between pollution reduction and carbon reduction and energy security, industrial chain supply chain security, food security and normal life of the people,” the said. document, according to Xinhua.

He said China should “respond to the economic, financial and social risks that may accompany the green and low-carbon transition” and prevent “overreaction and ensure safe carbon reduction.”

– CNN’s Yong Xiong, Laura He and Philip Wang contributed to this report.



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