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China Aims to Cut All Greenhouses Gases by 2060, Researcher Says


By Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) China’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2060 includes all greenhouses gases, not just carbon dioxide, according to one of the country’s top climate researchers.

He Jiankun, who chairs the academic committee at the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University, made the clarification at a conference on Monday outlining China’s road map to reaching its goal.

When President Xi Jinping told the United Nations about China’s new target last month, he didn’t specify if China would target just carbon dioxide — the most prevalent greenhouse gas — or others that also contribute to global warming such as methane, ozone and nitrous oxide. He also didn’t detail how China planned to achieve the target, though the government is expected to lay out some of those measures in its upcoming five-year plan for 2021 to 2025.

In line with the target, China should announce more ambitious contributions to the Paris climate accord including reducing its carbon intensity by more than 65% from 2005 levels and aiming for a higher share of non-fossil fuel energy sources by 2030, He said.

However, researchers at the conference laid out scenarios that showed even that plan wouldn’t put China on the path to keeping global warming within 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, so China would have to scale up targets even more after 2030.

He also said that the next five-year plan should include the following targets in order to achieve the 2060 goal:

  • Cut energy consumption per capita of gross domestic product by at least 14%
  • Boost the share of energy that comes from non-fossil fuels to about 20%
  • Reduce carbon dioxide intensity by as much as 20%

In September, Tsinghua University’s Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, released its proposal for achieving the 2060 target, which entailed a more gradual transition over the next decade and a half and a rapid acceleration after 2035. Under the plan, coal-fired electricity would be eliminated by 2050, and China’s energy mix would undergo the following transformation:

Energy source 2025 2060 Percent change
Coal 2.86 billion tons of coal equivalent 110 million -96%
Natural gas 560 million 140 million -75%
Oil 980 million 340 million -65%
Hydro 440 million 660 million +50%
Biomass 110 million 220 million +100%
Wind 240 million 1.07 billion +346%
Nuclear 170 million 820 million +382%
Solar 150 million 1.03 billion +587%


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