China is speeding up the formulation of an action plan to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 as part of the country’s larger drive to foster long-term green and high-quality development, according to the country’s top economic regulator.
The nation is currently working out the action plan for reaching the peak of carbon emissions in fields including power, steel, nonferrous metals, petrochemicals, building materials, construction and transportation, Jin Xiandong, a spokesman for the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference in Beijing on May 18.
In the next step, the NDRC will take solid steps toward the goal of achieving peak carbon dioxide emissions.
“We will further push economic and social transformation based on efficient use of resources and green, low-carbon growth, upgrading production and changing lifestyles to achieve the carbon peak goal on schedule,” Jin added.
Analysts and experts said China is ready to make a greater contribution to the global response to climate change, and it is set to take concrete steps to achieve its ambitious goal of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2060, as the country’s top leadership has pledged.
“It’s an international trend to fight climate change and promote low-carbon development. Currently, countries and regions that together account for 65 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions have proposed carbon neutrality goals or visions,” said Wang Jinnan, head of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forged a new consensus on the sustainable and green recovery of the world economy. For China, its new development paradigm has put forward higher requirements for fostering sustainable development and speeding up the overall transformation of the economy and society.”
According to Wang, China’s continued efforts to meet the carbon peak and carbon neutral goals will further promote the rapid development of the low-carbon economy and technologies, inject new impetus into the economy and enhance the competitiveness of China’s related industries and technologies.
These efforts will also play a key role in contributing to global low-carbon and green development.
“Despite the achievements we’ve made in fighting climate change and fostering green development, we still face huge challenges to achieve the preset goals,” Wang said.
“More efforts are needed to control fossil fuel consumption and develop non-fossil energy, further improve energy-saving technologies and consumption in the whole of society, promote the development and application of emission reductions in key industries and fields and accelerate the establishment of a carbon emission control system and the construction of a carbon market in the nation,” Wang added.
Wang’s views were echoed by Kang Yanbing, director of the Sustainable Development Research Center of the Energy Research Institute of the NDRC, who said the government’s ongoing efforts for carbon peak and carbon neutrality will boost the green economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a strategic choice to promote the transformation and upgrading of the energy structure, which is key to building China as a modern socialist country and gaining a green and low-carbon competitive edge globally,” Kang added.
Looking to the next five years, Kang said the country needs to make a big push to adjust its industrial structure, boost energy efficiency, improve the energy structure, strictly control the new production capacity of high-energy-consuming projects, vigorously develop green and low-carbon technologies and industries such as renewable energy, new energy vehicles and clean heating, and support key regions and industries to take the lead in peaking carbon emissions.
China has made considerable progress in recent years in carbon emission reduction. The nation’s carbon intensity－the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the country produces per unit of GDP－fell 18.2 percent from 2015 to 2019, fulfilling the binding targets set in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) ahead of schedule, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Looking forward, the NDRC said it will also take more steps to sustain economic stability, such as increasing support for private enterprises, in the process of cutting emissions.
Jin said the NDRC will make a big push to implement the measures outlined in a guideline released in 2019 to support private enterprises’ innovation and growth, as well as technological transformation and upgrading.
More efforts will also be made to improve policies to promote the development of private enterprises, create a better business environment and encourage private sector participation in sectors such as transportation.