China pledges to cut fossil fuel use below 20% by 2060

·2-min read
File: Smoke billowing from a chimney of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Power Generator Company coal power plant in Shanghai (Getty Images)
File: Smoke billowing from a chimney of the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Power Generator Company coal power plant in Shanghai (Getty Images)

China has decided to cut its reliance on fossil fuel to less than 20 per cent by 2060, according to a cabinet document published by the state media.

The new target, reported by the state-run Xinhua news agency on Sunday, comes just a week before UN climate talks are set to begin in Glasgow, where countries will discuss climate action goals.

The document lays out a host of guidelines the country will undertake to reduce its dependence on coal.

This includes carrying out “in-depth industrial restructuring, accelerating the development of a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system” and ramp up the “construction of a low-carbon transportation system,” according to Xinhua.

Coal currently serves 60 per cent of China’s energy needs, making it the world’s biggest producer and consumer of the environmentally-damaging fossil fuel.

China will now aim to gradually phase out coal by increasing the share of its energy production from non-fossil sources to 25 per cent by 2030 and then more than doubling that target to 80 per cent by the next 30 years.

The country’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product will fall by 65 per cent in 2030, compared to 2005 levels, according to the guidelines.

China has recently come under increased global scrutiny.

The country had ordered for more thermal power plants to open and is striving to increase coal production from mines so it can boost an economy hit by the pandemic and tackle a severe, ongoing energy crisis, all while it sketches out its climate-action targets.

This new target comes after Chinese president Xi Jinping already pledged to reach peak emissions by 2030 and attain carbon neutrality by 2060.

When a country cleans as many carbon emissions it produces, it is said to have achieved net-zero emissions or to have become carbon neutral.

Meanwhile, it still isn’t clear whether Mr Xi will attend the Cop26 climate talks that will begin in Glasgow on 31 October or if a delegation will attend on his behalf.

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