China is committed to serious climate action that includes emissions reduction and massive increases in cleaner energy generation. As the world largest emitter of CO2 these announcements are of pivotal importance to global efforts to manage climate change. China currently accounts for a quarter of world greenhouse gases and over the last decade China is responsible for more than half of the growth in global carbon emissions. What makes this new pledge so important is the fact that China has now accepted its responsibility alongside other nations. This represents a break from China’s previous position which said that industrialized Western nations bare the primary responsibility for addressing climate change.
In recent years China has been working hard to advance environmental and climate initiatives. China’s emissions are already down 33.8 percent compared to 2005 and new pledges will keep up the pace of their emissions reductions.
“China’s carbon dioxide emission will peak by around 2030 and China will
work hard to achieve the target at an even earlier date,” Chinese
Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement after meeting French President
Francois Hollande in Paris.
On June 30th, 2015, the same day that the US and Brazil made a major climate announcement, China waded in with an important climate pledge of its own. This announcement was made as part of China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to the United Nations. INDC submissions are critically important ahead of the forthcoming UN climate negations scheduled for Paris at the end of the year.
Adding to the deal already worked out with the US, China recently indicated that they plan to reduce the carbon intensity (the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of energy consumed) by up to 65 percent by 2030 based on 2005 figures. That represents an increase over the 40-45 percent cut already set by Beijing for 2020. This means that it will further reduce the quantity of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP amounting to reductions in carbon intensity of up to 4.4 percent annually.
China has indicated that to help them reduce their emissions they will
implement a national carbon market and plant more
carbon-absorbing forests.China has also indicated that they will increase the share of non-fossil fuel energy consumption to about 20 percent by 2030.
According to the 16 page document submitted to the UN, China outlined how it intends to achieve these goals. China will increase their current wind power by 100 percent and increase their solar power by 400 percent.
China is already the global leader in clean energy investments, with $89 billion invested in clean energy projects in 2014. A recent analysis suggests that China will see an additional $3.4 trillion in clean energy investments through 2040.
China is spending more on renewable energy than any other country on the planet. According to a March 2015 UNEP report, China has invested twice as much as the US, the world’s second largest investor in renewable energy.
As reported by Bloomberg, Jennifer Morgan, the global climate director at the World Resources Institute, called the pledge ”serious and credible.”
“China’s commitment was made possible by its ambitious clean energy policies and investments enacted over the past decade,” Morgan said. “China has been rapidly expanding its wind and solar power and continues to be the global leader in renewable energy investment.”
As explained by Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change, “We are making great efforts to bring about a revolution in energy production and consumption.”