In a speech to the UN General Assembly, China’s President Xi Jinping made groundbreaking climate commitments for his country, including setting new targets for China to achieve climate neutrality by 2060, and an interim goal to reach peak emissions prior to 2030.
China produces more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than any other country, with emissions reaching over 10,000 million tons of CO2 annually, as of 2016, nearly double those of the U.S. in second place. Reaching climate neutrality will require massive investment by the country over the next few decades. China is by far the largest producer of coal-based energy, responsible for roughly half of global coal consumption.
In his speech, Mr. Xi said:
“The Paris Agreement on climate change charts the course for the world to transition to green and low-carbon development. It outlines the minimum steps to be taken to protect the Earth, our shared homeland, and all countries must take decisive steps to honor this Agreement. China will scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by adopting more vigorous policies and measures. We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.”
He went on to call other countries to follow China’s initiative, beginning with a green post-COVID recovery:
“We call on all countries to pursue innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all, seize the historic opportunities presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, achieve a green recovery of the world economy in the post-COVID era and thus create a powerful force driving sustainable development.”