China is committed to fighting climate change
By Ning Hong

China's CO2 emission will peak in 2030, says a report by Tsinghua University.

China has recently renewed its pledge to fight climate change under the Paris Agreement, promising to reach carbon neutrality by 2060.  

Speaking about the target, Xie Zhenhua, president of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Development (ICCSED) under Tsinghua University, noted that China is one of the few countries that has provided a clear roadmap on cutting carbon emissions in spite of the great difficulties it faces. 

Compared with 2005, China's CO2 emissions per unit of GDP decreased by 48 percent in 2019, equivalent to a reduction of approximately 5.62 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, according to the official data. Meanwhile, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions decreased by 11.92 million tonnes and 11.3 million tonnes respectively.   

The country's energy structure has been improved. Coal consumption fell from 72.4 percent of the total to 55.7 percent, while non-fossil energy increased from 7.4 percent to 15.3 percent. 

Over the same period, China's GDP grew more than fourfold, lifting 95 percent of the poor out of poverty. The proportion of the tertiary sector in the economy increased from 41.3 percent to 53.9 percent. The average life expectancy of Chinese people increased from 72.9 to 77.3. 

China's now drafting its 14th five-year plan, which will be its overall policy blueprint for the period between 2021 and 2025. He Jiankun, director of the academic board of the ICCSED, has listed a number of suggestions on "green recovery and low carbon transformation" in the report. Here are some of the key numbers: 

• Decrease in energy consumption per unit of GDP of no less than 14 percent.  

• Non-fossil energy accounting for 20 percent of the total.  

• CO2 emission per unit of GDP decreasing by 19 to 20 percent.  

• Total energy consumption is controlled within 5.5 billion TCE. 

• Total CO2 emission is kept within 10.5 billion tons.                                                                                                                                    
"The transformation is very important. I think it is entirely possible to achieve these goals if we can really achieve transformation in all areas of the economy and society," Xie said.  

"Another key issue is innovation, such as in energy conservation, improving energy efficiency. China's energy conservation over the past 20 years has accounted for more than 50-percent of the total global energy conservation."