- Beatrice Chua
Towards a Carbon Neutral 2060
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Climate change. Sustainable development. Carbon neutrality.
The future of our world lies in the actions we take today. Driven by the green agenda, many countries have stepped up on their environmental sustainability and justice efforts and China is committed to doing so as well. Relying on its growing economic and technological strength, the Chinese government has pledged 2 significant commitments - the country’s emission of carbon dioxide will peak before 2030, and the country will achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Here are some sectors which have taken the first steps in this low-carbon transition:
Nuclear Power and Hydropower
China is set to undergo a major energy structure reform, from fossil fuels to cleaner and recyclable energy variants such as nuclear and hydropower. As of April 2021, China has 49 nuclear reactors in operations with a total operating capacity of 47.5GW. While nuclear energy provides only 2% of China’s current electrical grid, the country intends for nuclear to surpass all other sources and for it to be a reliable source of clean energy to the country’s electricity grid.
China unveiled the country’s self-developed maglev transportation system in 2021, which uses electro-magnetic force to allow trains to run at 600 km/h. This is the fastest ground vehicle in the world till date and shortened the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to just 2 hours. This maglev transportation system will significantly reduce air flights and long-distance driving, thus drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions and is a key component in China’s journey towards carbon neutrality.
New Energy Vehicles
The Chinese government is advancing new-energy vehicles with favourable taxation and fees. For example, when purchasing an electric car in Shanghai, a free license plate is given whereas purchasing a traditional car which runs on gasoline would require buyers to go through an auction procedure which is lengthy and expensive. This has encouraged the switch from traditional gasoline vehicles to electric vehicles in many of China’s megacities such as Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai. Furthermore, in Shenzhen, all taxis and public buses are electricity powered. Therefore, due to the government’s preferential policies, new-energy vehicle sale is projected to exceed 2.2 million in 2021.
National Carbon Market
The national carbon market was introduced in 2021 by the Chinese government and sets emission caps for major electricity companies, allowing these firms to buy emission rights from other companies with a lower carbon footprint. By implementing the emission trading market, the Chinese government hopes that companies would be encouraged to lower their carbon emissions to avoid a hefty payment.
Till date, as many as 2,225 Chinese power producers have joined this trading system and more steel, cement and firms of other industries will join in the future.
As can be seen, multiple efforts across various industries have been rolled out towards a greener world. Going forward, further national-scale economic, industrial and environmental changes will be needed for China to achieve its carbon neutrality target by 2060.
Thank you for reading and let us do our part in tackling climate change together!