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    China Publishes Plan to Hit 2030 Carbon Peak Pledge

    On the eve of the Glasgow climate summit, China details its strategy to peak carbon emissions.

    The State Council, China’s Cabinet, published Tuesday an “action plan” containing details of its carbon reduction strategy, as leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference this Sunday.

    China has vowed to hit peak carbon emissions and begin to cut its total by the end of the decade. It also previously committed to get 25% of all energy from non-fossil sources by 2030 and reduce carbon emissions per unit of GDP to 35% of its 2005 levels. The action plan is the country’s most detailed statement yet of its plans to achieve these goals.

    In the document, China’s Cabinet breaks down how national goals will translate into targets for specific industries, including targets to have 40% of vehicles powered by renewables and solar panels on half of all new buildings by 2030.

    An official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told state news agency Xinhua that China needs more time to achieve peak carbon emissions than developed countries. China, as the world’s largest developing country, is still working on industrialization and urbanization, the official said.

    “The country needs to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihoods. So energy consumption will continue to grow,” said the official.

    The NDRC official emphasized that the country’s carbon peak and neutrality goals are fully in line with the goals set in the Paris Agreement. “The 2030 plan means China will work hard to complete the largest-scale reduction in carbon emissions in the world.” The NDRC official added that per capita carbon emissions in China are less than half the number in the U.S.

    In addition to its new pledge to increase clean energy vehicles to account for 40% of all vehicles by 2030, the plans calls for 70% of all transportation in cities with a population of over 1 million to be green by the same year. China previously aimed to have new-energy vehicles account for 20% of all vehicles by 2025, and that they be “the mainstream” by 2035. 

    The plan also sets a number of specific targets for cities and the power sector. According to the plan, all cities will implement trash sorting by 2030, and 65% of the waste will be reused. By 2025, the country plans to implement green building standards fully, with solar roofs installed on half of all new public buildings and factories.

    It also calls for an additional 40 million kilowatts of hydropower capacity by 2025, and another 40 million kilowatts by 2030.

    The plan references the need to ensure “the security of energy supply and the normal order of people’s everyday life” as the country transitions to green energy. China suffered widespread power outages during September after a spike in the price of coal.

    “An important addition has been the recognition of stable energy supply and energy security, which is potentially a reaction to the electricity shortage over the last month,” Christoph Nedopil, director of the Green Finance and Development Center at Fanhai International School of Finance, Fudan University, told Sixth Tone.

    Nedopil added that the overall targets in the plan are in line with targets set in the country’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025).

    “The plan is hopefully a baseline of China’s climate ambitions rather than the maximum. It will serve as an inspiration for players from government at different levels to companies, both private and public, to minimize carbon emissions as quickly as possible,” Nedopil said.

    Editor: David Cohen.

    (Header image: People Visual)