President Xi Jinping’s announcement in September that China will cut its carbon emissions to zero by 2060 was as welcome as it was surprising. It signalled a clear intention that the country would take on the mantle of leading the world into the clean energy era, just as the US was vacating the position. The pledge was greeted with praise by world leaders. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called it an “important step in our global fight against climate change”, while the UN saw it as progress “for . . . the world”. If successful, it will represent the biggest reduction in emissions of any country. The new target, if achieved, will lower global warming projections by 0.2C-0.3 degrees centigrade, according to Climate Action Tracker, a non-profit research group. But the public commitment has also provoked scepticism. Today, China contributes nearly a third of the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. Roughly 60 per cent of its energy use is derived from coal and it is the world’s second largest consumer of oil. Several analysts claim the decisive shift to renewables must happen within the next decade for the target to be met. This is the period of time China has allocated for its carbon emissions to peak. In October, Tsinghua University’s Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development published recommendations for tougher energy-saving and emissions-reductions targets in the five-year plan. According to analysis by Professor He Jiankun, one of the report authors, for China to meet its ultimate net zero ambitions, the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy consumption must increase from 16 per cent (forecast for this year) to 20 per cent by 2025. He also suggests that a carbon emissions cap should be included in the five-year plan for the first time, with a limit of 10.5bn tonnes a year by 2025 (only a fraction above China’s current output of 10.3bn tonnes of emissions, based on 2020 projections).
FT 3rd Nov 2020 read more »
China has begun intensive lobbying and backchannel negotiations to obtain crucial civilian nuclear energy technology worth billions of dollars from France, reports Economic Times. To achieve the same, China has begun to engage in political diplomacy to secure a visit by President Emmanuel Macron to China and clinch the deal. In 2018, a preliminary deal had been signed between the French Government-owned nuclear energy giant Orano and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). However, the deal expired at the end of 2018 and the engagement got stalled over security concerns. China is now looking to rekindle the EUR 10-billion deal between Orano and CNNC, which would involve the building of a “reprocessing and recycling” facility in China by the two institutions.
Swaraja 2nd Nov 2020 read more »