gros140_GREG BAKERAFP via Getty Images_xi jinping unga Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Europe’s “Green China” Challenge

If, as seems likely, China commits fully to President Xi Jinping's recent pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, the implications will be far-reaching. This is particularly true for the European Union, which will have its own plans and policies both facilitated and challenged in unanticipated ways.

BERLIN – At the recent United Nations General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that his country will strive to become carbon neutral by 2060. It was a potentially highly consequential announcement, and it deserves more attention – not least from the European Union.

China produces nearly 30% of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels – about twice the share of the United States and three times that of the EU. Moreover, China’s emissions are likely to continue increasing – Xi promised only that they would peak by 2030 – whereas the EU already has plans to cut its emissions by another 30 percentage points. This means that, by 2030, China’s emissions might be 4-5 times the EU level. For this reason, China’s achievement of carbon neutrality would have a much larger climate impact than Europe’s efforts.

For the time being, a carbon-neutral China remains a vague political aspiration. The next step would be a formal commitment by China under the Paris climate agreement, followed by a clear and credible plan, with concrete milestones, for fulfilling that commitment.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

or

Register for FREE to access two premium articles per month.

Register

https://prosyn.org/Lj1DwVt