With the COP26 conference right around the corner, most nations are signing onto new pledges like cutting methane emissions, but not China. Instead, China submitted a new emission pledge to the UN that doesn’t change enough from the previous pledge.
This comes as scientists have concluded that the world is heating up faster than previously expected. In fact, it’s so fast that the 1.5C goal of the Paris agreement may no longer be possible unless drastic actions are taken.
And as China’s “new” emissions plan demonstrates, they are not taking the state of the world seriously.
What is the New Emission Pledge from China?
So what’s actually different in this new climate pledge?
One of the major changes is to lower CO2 emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 65% as opposed to 60% in the previous pledge. On top of this by 2060, when China is expected to reach net-zero, less than 20% of its energy will come from fossil fuels.
The country still expects its emissions to continue to rise for the rest of the decade and peak by 2030. And its net-zero target is 10 years later than recommended.
While the pledge is an improvement, it does nothing to address the acceleration of climate change. In fact, it only makes it more of a certainty than anything else. And it also raises the question if China can even follow through on its own pledge.
Is it really possible for China to ditch coal in 40 years?
China Relies On Coal
China is currently experiencing power shortages as the price of coal skyrockets and the availability dwindles.
This has forced the government to urge coal producers to produce as much coal as possible. This may just be the result of the ongoing pandemic, but the submitted pledge says it all.
Emissions won’t peak until 2030.
That means you can expect for the reliance on coal to grow substantially over the next decade. And that’s visible to most nations on the planet as the country is building three times as many new coal plants as the rest of the world combined.
It’s very difficult to see a scenario where China can replace or phase out coal entirely when it continues to double down on it.
It Will Have An Effect At the COP26
Possibly even more disappointing than the pledge itself is when it was submitted. By submitting it on Thursday, October 28th, it’s only a few days before the COP26 conference on October 31st.
Without a doubt, this will have a huge impact on what is discussed, and what can be discussed as China’s leader does not plan to attend the meeting in person.
The world cannot achieve its climate goals without China. It is by far the largest emitter and is integral in the world reaching the goals set in the Paris Agreement. Without a doubt, it will cast a shadow on the conference as a whole.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.