Peak carbon, achievable neutrality objectives

An employee oversees a solar panel production line at a factory in Hefei, Anhui province. RUAN XUEFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

China is taking strong steps to peak carbon dioxide emissions and achieve carbon neutrality as part of ongoing efforts to foster a new development paradigm and pursue high-quality development, the top regulator said Thursday. economy of the country.

Liu Dechun, director of the Department of Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection at the National Development and Reform Commission, said China has the ability to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 as planned.

Citing official data, Liu said China has already made considerable progress in its green and low-carbon energy transformation over the past decade.

China’s clean energy consumption accounted for 25.5% of total energy consumption in 2021, an increase of 11 percentage points from 2012. Meanwhile, the share of coal consumption stood at 56% last year, down 12.5 percentage points from 2012.

Notably, China’s installed capacity of wind and photovoltaic power generation has increased about 12 times since 2012, and the country’s new energy generation topped 1 trillion kilowatt-hours for the first time.

China’s installed renewable energy capacity has now exceeded 1.1 billion kilowatts, with installed capacity for hydroelectric, wind, solar and biomass power generation earning the top spots in the world.

Between 2012 and 2021, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 26.4%, and CO2 emissions and water consumption per unit of GDP fell by 34.4% and 45% , respectively.

Looking ahead, Liu said the country will continue to implement the measures set out by the “1+N” policy system for carbon peak and carbon neutrality, in which “1” is the opinion. guideline and “N” is the detailed pattern of various industries. .

More efforts will also be made to promote green and low-carbon energy transformation, accelerate the push for industrial upgrading, drive green and low-carbon technology innovation, and improve policies to promote healthy development of the carbon trading market.

Citing official data, Wayne Huang, a Shanghai-based lawyer at Linklaters, said the national carbon trading exchange replaced the European Union’s emissions trading system in as the world’s largest carbon trading system in terms of coverage, with over 2,000 electricity companies and covering over 4.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.

In the longer term, Huang said China’s carbon market could greatly benefit from the involvement of international institutions.

He added that some of the existing pilot carbon trading markets in China allow limited participation by international institutions. But due to limits on entry thresholds and cross-border fund flows, carbon trading activities by foreign institutions have been limited. However, this could change with the proposed creation of a unified carbon market in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

Carol N. Valencia