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An Insight into China’s Transition to Net Zero Carbon Economy

The changes in the climatic conditions have posed a huge threat to the long-term prosperity of China. Nevertheless, this country is in an excellent position to tackle climatic changes while transitioning to a greener economy and meeting developmental goals.

China’s Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) by the World Bank Group looks at the crucial adjustments needed in the country’s economy, energy supply, cities, transportation and land use. This is to meet its national commitments to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and fulfil its goal of carbon neutrality by 2060.

Due to China’s significant greenhouse gas emissions, the country’s population’s high susceptibility to climate hazards, and China’s crucial contribution to international efforts to combat climate change, the report emphasizes the importance of taking the best action, such as net zero carbon.

China’s Route to Carbon Neutrality

China has continued to be the world’s largest producer and user of energy during the past ten years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, its energy-related CO2 emissions had increased to 28% of worldwide emissions. However, China has substantial obstacles in its transition to net zero due to its size and the need to balance economic growth with pollution reductions.

China’s declaration will have far-reaching effects and necessitate significant adjustments to how it uses energy and manufactures commodities. However, while there are optimistic foundations in place, forty years is a short time to achieve such a significant transformation, and many of the specifics of how this change can be implemented are yet unknown.

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There is little doubt that in the upcoming years, intensive research and concerted effort will be required to design the route to 2060.

China’s Transition to Net-Zero

Since 1970, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted globally has doubled. Half of that rise comes from China. Today, the nation accounts for almost one-third of global emissions. Therefore, it is crucial to understand how China feels about the move to a net zero-carbon economy. Its success in lowering emissions may make the difference between a sustainable climate and one that is not.

Considering that, communication with China is crucial, despite the apparent difficulties. And we see cause for optimism, albeit with considerable caution. The Chinese government has sent conflicting signals in recent years regarding its plans for the environment. However, China successfully negotiated a joint statement to be included in the COP26 summit last year that promised to “scale down” rather than “phase out” the usage of coal. However, the government has also publicly announced that China will begin to reduce its emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

It appears that the Chinese leadership sees climate change as a matter in which working with the West is in China’s best interests on a national level. More than most subjects, climate policy is a “safe zone” where China genuinely wants to find global answers. In addition, China has the geopolitical goal of becoming “energy independent” as part of a larger initiative to lessen its reliance on imports. This necessitates reducing foreign oil and gas imports while increasing domestic energy generation, mainly through renewable sources.

China still has a way to go, so it is clear that complacency is not an option. But China must be involved if the world is to have any chance of containing climate change. Additionally, China will continue to be a significant source of inputs for manufacturing renewable energy, particularly lithium for batteries and solar energy machinery. The notion that China will never change is unfounded. Investors, however, must act now since they can significantly influence China’s efforts to improve its climate policies.