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Everything You Need to Know About China’s Decarbonization Drive
The country’s climate campaign is set to bring trillions of dollars of investment opportunities and aims to advance emissions-reduction technologies and low-carbon industries

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China is in the midst of a massive decarbonization campaign.

There was an obvious trigger. In September 2020, President Xi Jinping made a commitment that China will achieve peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral before 2060. The so-called “dual carbon” goals, sometimes referred to as the 30-60 targets, are one of the priorities influencing the central government’s development strategies.

They are expected to bring trillions of dollars of investment opportunities and help advance emissions-reduction technologies and low-carbon industries.

Here are key things you need to know about how China plans to meet its dual carbon goals, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.

Facts and goals

The world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter
In 2005, China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide and is now responsible for about one-third of global annual carbon dioxide emissions. In short, it is at the forefront of the global push to slash carbon emissions and contain climate change.

Cutting emissions will not be easy. Coal made up more than half of China’s total energy consumption in 2020. The country has pledged to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy consumption to about 25% by 2030 and more than 80% by 2060, well above the 15.9% in 2020.

As the world’s manufacturing powerhouse, China requires a lot of energy, especially given that most of its manufacturing industries sit at the middle and lower end of the global industrial chain. Also, the fact that some developed countries have relocated their carbon-intensive production chains to China has exacerbated the nation’s environmental crisis.

Today, there are similar concerns about China’s expansion into other developing countries, and its relocation of high-emission projects overseas has drawn scrutiny.

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