Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced that it aims to reach peak greenhouse gas emissions in less than 10 years (by 2030) and be carbon neutral by 2060. He announced the new goals to the UN General Assembly by video call on Tuesday.
The news was unexpected as climate change has taken the backbench this year with many governments distracted by COVID-19 and its economic impact. The most important global climate change conference COP26 has been postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19 so scientists were concerned that no new commitments to climate change would be made this year. Xi called for a “green recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many analysts have commented that this is a political move with the Trump administration pulling out of the Paris climate treaty and reducing its commitment to climate change policy. This could be part of Xi’s geopolitical strategy to make China the global leader in climate change.
China is currently the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. The pledge is an extension of China’s previous policy which contained no longer term goals past 2030; however, critics have questioned how Chinese authorities plan to achieve this goal and how they are defining “carbon neutrality”.
The topic has not been widely discussed on social media channels in China.