CGTN: China to continue green transition toward carbon peak and neutrality

BEIJING, Oct. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — China will actively implement its policies to work toward the goals of reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment Zhai Qing said Friday.

China made the pledges at the United Nations General Assembly in 2020.

“Climate change is a prominent global challenge and a matter of common interest for the international community. General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized that addressing climate change is not something others ask us to do, but something we want to do,” Zhai said at a press conference on the sidelines of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“As the world’s largest developing country, China will make the world’s biggest cut in carbon emission intensity, and move from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in the shortest time in history, which fully demonstrates the country’s sense of responsibility as a big country,” he noted.

To achieve the goals, China will accelerate the low-carbon transition in key areas and vigorously push the synergy of pollution reduction and carbon cut, Zhai said.

The country will also advance the national carbon market in a steady and orderly manner, speed up the research, promotion and application of low-carbon technologies, and promote low-carbon production and green lifestyle, he added.

Significant progress in green transition

China has made significant progress in low-carbon transition.

In the past decade, the country has maintained an average economic growth rate of 6.6 percent with an average annual energy consumption growth rate of only three percent, according to Zhai.

In 2020, China’s carbon emission intensity decreased by 48.4 percent compared with that in 2005, exceeding the target it had pledged to the international community, he pointed out.

In 2021, the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP decreased by 34.4 percent compared with that in 2012.

In the same year, the share of coal use in its primary energy mix dropped to 56 percent from 68.5 percent in 2012 and 72.4 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the proportion of non-fossil energy in its total energy consumption reached 16.6 percent. 

In 2021, China’s installed capacity of renewable energy exceeded 1 billion kilowatts, with that of wind, solar, hydra and biomass energy all ranking the first in the world.

The country also witnessed the largest increase in forest resources and the largest area of afforestation in the world, leading the global greening effort, Zhai said.

China alone accounted for 25 percent of the global net increase in leaf area with only 6.6 percent of global vegetated area, according to a Boston University study tracking NASA satellites from 2000 to 2017, which was published in Nature Sustainability in 2019.

In addition, the country launched the world’s largest carbon market in terms of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it covered, effectively giving play to the role of the market mechanism in controlling greenhouse gas emissions and promoting low-carbon transition.

Actively contributing to global climate governance

China has also been actively contributing to global climate governance, Zhai noted.

China upholds multilateralism and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, he said, adding that the country has promoted the signature, entry into force, as well as the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The country has taken an active part in South-South cooperation on climate change. It has done its best to help other developing countries, especially small island countries, African countries, and the least-developed countries, to improve their climate response capacity to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change, said Zhai.

Besides, positive progress has been made in promoting the green development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Zhai said. Proposed by China in 2013, the BRI envisions trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

China established an international coalition for the green development of the Belt and Road in 2019, which has worked to strengthen policy dialogues and joint research, and support the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said.

The coalition currently has more than 150 partners from over 40 countries.

Efforts have been made to improve the innovation and exchanges of green technologies and cultivate talent in environmental management.

“We have trained about 3,000 environmental management personnel, experts and scholars from more than 120 countries, building consensus and synergy for green development,” Zhai said.

Heading forward, China will work with all parties to actively participate in the global governance of climate change. It will promote a fair and rational global climate governance system for win-win results, continue to deepen South-South cooperation on climate change, and contribute China’s strength, wisdom and solutions to global climate change response, he said.