Washington, D.C. — Understanding China’s approach to climate is vital in the lead-up to the COP26 climate summit in November, according to a new column from the Center for American Progress.
As world leaders push to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, China’s energy trajectory is in the spotlight. China’s emissions surged by 9 percent in the first quarter of 2021 alone compared with pre-pandemic levels, and the Chinese government plans to allow emissions to keep growing for the next decade.
The column highlights four aspects of China’s climate approach that should inform negotiations at the climate summit:
- China is meeting its climate targets, but they are not ambitious enough—particularly when it comes to coal consumption.
- China has deployed more renewable energy in absolute gigawatts than any other country, yet its consumption of clean energy as a percentage of its total lags behind other countries.
- China emits more carbon per unit of gross domestic product and almost as much per capita as developed economies.
- The Chinese government’s national emissions trading scheme does not set a fixed cap on carbon emissions, so there is little to no deterrent to prevent the construction of newer coal plants that can meet efficiency benchmarks but continue to pollute nonetheless.
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