renewable energy boost at heart of national climate plan for china - Renewable energy boost at heart of national climate plan for China

BEIJING – China is formulating a national plan to tackle climate change, and plans to boost its use of renewable energy to reduce its reliance on coal, state economic planner the National Development and Reform Commission said on Thursday (April 22).

It will spell out specific goals and pathways that major industries and areas have to meet for China to attain its goal of peaking carbon emissions before 2030, said the NDRC’s deputy secretary-general Su Wei.

Mr Su was among a panel of Chinese officials speaking  at a late-night press briefing following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the US Climate Summit.

Mr Xi had reiterated China’s goals to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2060.

He also said that China would put limit its use of coal over the next five years, and begin to wind down its consumption of the high-polluting fossil fuel from 2026.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr Su said China would “continue to vigorously promote the use of non-fossil fuels and increase the share of non-fossil fuels” in its energy mix to meet targets.

But Mr Su did not specify targets or limits on coal consumption or coal capacity.

While he said efforts would be made to make coal-fired capacity obselete, it was still needed to provide a stable source of power, adding that renewable energies like wind and solar power were less stable than the fossil fuel.

“We don’t have other choice, we still need coal fired power to stabilise our energy mix, but we will continue to increase the share of renewable energy in our energy mix,” he said.

Coal share of energy consumption in China fell to 56.8 per cent in 2020, but China’s energy regulator said on Thursday (April 23) that it aims to reduce this to less than 56 per cent this year.

On climate cooperation with the United States, China’s special envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua said he had “frank, friendly, in-depth and constructive discussions”, when he held talks with his US counterpart John Kerry last week in Shanghai.

“Both sides agreed that our two countries will strengthen cooperation and work with other parties to jointly address the climate crisis,” he said, in his first public statements following his meeting with Mr Kerry.

With US-China relations at a historic low, there are worries that tensions could hobble cooperation between the world’s two largest polluters, something that climate experts is essential to tackling this global problem.

Vice-foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu had added that Beijing hopes climate cooperation could help stabilise rocky ties between both countries

“Climate change response should not be a geopolitical bargain or an excuse to establish trade barriers,” he said.

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