China’s President Xi Jinping has targeted a steeper cut in rates of carbon emissions relative to economic activity by 2030 and set new goals for growth in renewable energy and forest stock.
“Today, I wish to announce some further commitments for 2030,” Xi told a one-day virtual UN summit on climate change via video before announcing the targets.
“China always honours its commitments.”
China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, will cut its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product, or carbon intensity, by more than 65 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, said Xi.
That compares to targets China announced in 2015 of lowering carbon intensity by 60-65 per cent by 2030.
Xi also said on Saturday China will boost its installed capacity of wind and solar power to more than 1200 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, and increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 per cent during the same period, up from a previous commitment of 20 per cent.
As of 2019, China had combined accumulative installed solar and wind capacity of around 414 GW.
China’s state planner is aiming to have 240 GW of wind and the same amount of solar capacity installed by the end of this year.
Greenpeace climate adviser Li Shuo said China’s new target demonstrates goodwill.
Li estimated that China’s new carbon intensity target would mean China would reach the peak of its carbon emissions between 2025 and 2030.
“However, Beijing has the potential to do more. Making its emissions peak earlier than 2025 is still something it should strive for,” said Li, adding that Greenpeace was expecting China to cut its carbon intensity by 70-75 per cent by 2030.
The European Union has urged China to halt all new coal projects and to stop financing overseas coal plants.
But Xi’s speech on Saturday contained no mention of roadmaps for coal project elimination.