China has accused the United States of obstructing the global fight against fossil fuel emissions. Beijing has taken up the climate protection agenda and the goal is to become climate neutral by 2060. Environmentalists around the world hailed the target, although it is not detailed enough.
China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter and is committed to peaking by 2030. The country is responsible for a quarter of the world’s emissions, which are said to accelerate global temperatures.
The promise opened new gaps in relations with the United States that had already been pinched by disputes over technology, trade, defense, and human rights.
Chinese President Xi Jimping spoke again in favor of the Paris climate agreement at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The president also called for a green focus when fighting the coronavirus.
In his speech, President Xi named China as a climate leader. He enforced that the Paris Agreement be the minimum measure to protect the earth and that countries should take this crucial step to comply with the agreement.
While China is aiming for a peak in CO2 emissions before 2030 and wants to be climate neutral by 2060, the USA, the second-largest gas emitter globally and under the Trump administration, has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement. They blamed China for the stalled momentum in tackling global emissions.
Wang Wenbin, the spokesman for China’s State Department, said in a statement that the US withdrawal has clearly and seriously hampered progress in reducing global emissions. He cited US hunger for plastics and their export of waste and questioned the qualifications they have to criticize China.
Wang added that China has not only welcomed the global emission reduction agreements but has already supplemented 15% of its energy needs with non-fossil fuels.
He said China’s renewable energy use accounts for 30% of the world’s total.
However, experts say the picture is controversial as there is massive investment in coal and other fossil fuels at home and abroad.
China currently has 135 gigawatts of coal power that is either licensed or under construction, according to Francisco-based Global Energy Monitor. That’s about half the power of coal in the US.
The Paris Agreement obligated nations to limit rising global temperatures to near pre-industrial levels, which can be achieved through a rapid and far-reaching decline in greenhouse gas emissions, which is why China has committed itself.
Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission, welcomed China’s promise and tweeted that there was still a lot of work to be done.
Experts have hailed China’s 2060 target, calling it a significant step in adding momentum to the flat-lining Paris Accords, though it’s still a decade later than the date set by several small states as well as European powers has been.
Joeri Rogelj is one of the experts who welcomed the 2060 target. The climate expert at the Grantham Institute described Xi’s promise as unexpected and eye-opening. He added that China’s announcement is a pivotal moment that is rolling back ambitions for global climate action.
One non-profit Climate Action Tracker based in Berlin said in a statement that China’s achievement of its 2060 target will help reduce projected global warming by 0.2-0.3 degrees Celsius.
Wayne Sims is the Lead Editor for Chroniclex with 12 years of experience. Wayne has been working for Many Large Online Publications for nearly a decade and has published his articles in many prints and digital publications including Erieview Newsstand, Bond Court News and Private Entertainment. When Wayne is not busy writing She likes stitching.