Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart; Senior CCP officials have indicated China’s 2030 CO2 pledges are goals to strive towards, rather than targets they would ensure were achieved. They also emphasised that more developed nations should shoulder most of the burden of reducing global emissions.
Caution on carbon as ‘China realises key role of coal’ in energy mix
Targets come with no guarantees and should not affect development, former officials sayAwareness has grown of just how difficult it will be for the country to make the shift away from the fossil fuel, analysts say
Published: 9:15am, 13 Dec, 2021
Serving and former Chinese senior officials have urged caution on the path towards carbon neutrality, echoing the leadership’s assessment that climate targets “can’t be achieved in just one battle”.
Addressing a forum in Beijing on Saturday, former finance minister Lou Jiwei said that while China had said it would “strive to” reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, there was a difference between this and “ensuring [those targets would be achieved]”.
“We are a developing country. We should bear common but differentiated responsibilities that are different from developed countries,” Lou told the gathering organised by the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.
Han Wenxiu, from the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, was similarly cautious, saying the two targets were complex and long-term tasks that required full consideration of the country’s energy and industrial structure.
According to the statement, fossil fuels should be phased out “based on” safe and reliable alternative sources of energy. China should also make clean and efficient use of coal, given the fuel’s dominant role in the country’s power generation and consumption, it said.
“It’s the first time that [Chinese officials] have announced a transition from controlling energy consumption and intensity to carbon consumption and intensity, so it is meaningful,” Ma said.
“The challenge is we don’t have a cap on carbon emissions yet. It is time to set the cap, which will send a clear signal to local governments, companies and the society to better guide their transformation and investment.”
…Read more: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3159418/caution-carbon-china-realises-key-role-coal-energy-mix
A month ago John Kerry announced a US to China technology transfer agreement, in which Kerry agreed to gift US technology and access to US academia to China for free, to help China reduce CO2 emissions.
China now appears to be suggesting they are happy to accept the technology, but perhaps awareness is growing in China, even amongst supporters of renewable energy, of the magnitude of the task of decarbonising the Chinese economy.
And there are renewable energy supporters in the CCP. Earlier this year, Chinese leader Xi Jinping triggered energy chaos by imposing impossible coal quotas on China, in the months leading up to COP26.
At the time I thought China was just playing games, trying to look good for the big climate conference. But what if Xi genuinely believed his decarbonisation / renewable energy quotas were achievable?
China’s greatest cultural weakness is nobody can tell the boss he made a mistake. A Chinese company once flew me halfway around the world, to find a way to communicate a problem to the boss without anyone losing face. Even in China, the message eventually gets through, when the problems become impossible to ignore.