President Xi Jinping has announced that China will give priority to environmental protection and promoting green lifestyles. Proclaiming the conservation of nature is an essential part of building a modern socialist country.
In a speech at the Communist Party Congress, Xi praised China’s progress in tackling environmental problems over the last 10 years and vowed to eliminate heavy air and water pollution while bringing soil contamination under control.
China is highly vulnerable to climate change and pollution. It has 6% of global water reserves and 20% of the global population.
“Ecological and environmental protection has undergone a historical, transformational and comprehensive change – our motherland’s skies are bluer, the mountains are greener and the water is clearer,” said Xi.
Low-carbon growth has been a key part of China’s efforts to boost its international standing and lead a new “global green industrial revolution”. Xi warned in 2018 failure to tackle pollution could be used as an “excuse” for hostile forces to undermine Communist Party rule.
China is currently the world’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gasses. According to a report from Rhodium Group, China produced 27% of global emissions in 2019. The US followed with 11%.
The report also highlighted that China’s emissions had tripled over the previous three decades.
Xi vowed last year that China would be carbon neutral by 2060 after bringing emissions to a peak by the end of 2030.
China is heavily reliant on coal power. The country is currently running 1,058 coal plants – more than half the world’s capacity.
However, from January to April this year, China tripled investment in solar power projects up to 29 billion yuan ($4.3bn), putting the nation on track to install record amounts of new clean energy capacity.
He told the conference that China’s carbon peak and neutrality targets would be implemented in accordance with the country’s energy resources.
“China will support low-carbon industries, pursue an energy revolution and build a new energy system while continuing to promote the clean and efficient use of coal,” Xi continued.
But, a 2021 analysis from the Climate Action Tracker, a scientific analysis that tracks government climate action, says that China’s NDC rating is “highly insufficient” and “not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2C.” This was despite China signing of the 2015 Paris Climate agreement.
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