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China’s Climate Goals ‘Realistic,’ ‘Ambitious’

China’s Climate Goals ‘Realistic,’ ‘Ambitious’

At a virtual gathering hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping made no new commitments beyond what he told the U.N. General Assembly in New York in September: "We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060."

Although many of the world’s governments have committed to keeping global warming below 2 Celsius, peaking emissions in 2020 or later means that emissions would need to fall faster than what is thought to be the maximum possible reduction of about 35% per year.

Carbon neutrality is achieved when the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere is the same as the amount of CO2 removed from the atmosphere.

Haim Israel, managing director of research at Bank of America, was quoted by CNBC as saying the next battle between the U.S. and China will be over climate change and “it’s not just about saving the planet. We believe climate strategies offer a route to global supremacy.”

To achieve the CO2 emissions goal, Xi pledged to “strictly control” coal-fired power plants in China’s current five-year plan and “phase it down” over its 15th five-year plan, which starts after 2035.

China, a leader in producing technology for renewable energy like solar panels, burns coal to generate electricity that is critical to all sectors of its economy. Meeting emissions goals, “requires extraordinary hard efforts from China,” Xi said.

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