China’s climate change battle

China’s climate change battle

China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. But it’s fighting back against climate change.

Green push a rare bright spot for Chinese diplomacy
China has doubled down on its environmental diplomacy, making pledges on global issues such as climate change and biodiversity and projecting itself as a world leader. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, President Xi Jinping said China would reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060. The pledge was welcomed by the international community. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she welcomed China’s ambition to curb emissions and achieve carbon neutrality, but said there was still a lot of work to be done. Another landmark moment for China in the international environmental arena is in May, when the country is expec
China has a path to become a climate change leader
If it wants, China can sustainably phase-out coal-fired power and keep the climate from warming by 2°C (3.6°F), without creating a serious economic impact.  According to a new study of the energy sector, China can meet a more ambitious goal of keeping warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), but that would require meticulous planning and financial support to retire the coal plants.  “This report shows that a sustainable coal power phase-out in China is possible, by rapidly retiring the low-hanging fruit and gradually reducing the operating hours of the remaining [coal-fired power] plants,” said Jiang Kejun, a co-lead author of the study and senior researcher with the Chinese government-backed Energy Resear
‘Go back to school’: Greta Thunberg’s call for action divides Chinese internet
In an emotional message to the UN’s Climate Action Summit in New York this week, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg slammed world leaders for failing to take action on climate change. But China’s online community was largely unmoved and divided over whether her activism was meaningful. “What this girl is doing is just talking the talk,” read a comment on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.  “She started to go on strike at age 14. How much knowledge does she have? Without much knowledge in her mind, how can she propose solutions to deal with environmental problems?” it continued. While the Chinese government has vowed to play a major role in responding to climate change, the online
China on track to meet carbon target years early, study says
China’s carbon emissions could peak as soon as 2021, years earlier than the deadline it agreed to under the Paris climate accord, according to a new study. As the world’s most populous country and second-largest economy, China emits more carbon dioxide than any other nation. Under the Paris accord to keep global warming to 2℃ or less by the end of the century, China has pledged that its CO2 emissions would stop rising by 2030.  But a study published in Nature Sustainability on July 29 estimates that China’s emissions will peak between 2021 and 2025.  The peer-reviewed projection is based on an examination of historical CO2 emissions in 50 Chinese cities between 2000 and 2016.  It says per c
Bernie Sanders says China leads in clean tech. But does it?
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been ridiculed for saying China is ahead of the United States in green technology. The Democratic senator running in the 2020 election tweeted that China “leads on electric vehicles and renewable energy, while Trump says climate change is a hoax.” China, with one-third our per capita income, leads on electric vehicles and renewable energy, while Trump says climate change is a hoax. A Green New Deal would invest in building our electric buses, trains and cars here in America with good union wages. https://t.co/XzUylFg4ij — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 5, 2019 Conservative media outlets slammed Sanders for praising the Chinese Communist Party and
Study traces emissions of banned gas to eastern China
Industries in eastern China produced massive emissions of an illegal, ozone-depleting gas in recent years, a peer-reviewed study has shown. Chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11), once widely used in making insulation foam, has been banned globally as a potent ozone destroyer and a greenhouse gas. But scientists have found an unexpected rise in its emissions from eastern Asia since 2012. A study published on Nature this week has identified China as a major culprit. Researchers said annual CFC-11 emissions from eastern China were about 7,000 metric tons higher from 2014 to 2017 compared with emissions from 2008 to 2012. The spike accounted for at least 40% to 60% of the global increase after 2012. Th
Inkstone index: China’s emissions peak
2030: the year China has committed to reach peak emissions. No country emits more greenhouse gases today than China, the world’s most populous nation and its second-largest economy. But as the world’s largest emitter, the country has also pledged to take a key role in responding to climate change. To that end, China has committed to mitigation measures set out in the 2016 Paris climate agreement, targeting to reach peak emissions levels by 2030 and reducing them after that. It’s also been increasing its investment in clean and cleaner energy, such as solar power, to wean itself off coal burning. Whether China manages to achieve this is pretty important.  The ocean is heating much faster tha
Inkstone index: China’s solar dominance
40%: the percentage of the world’s new solar panels that will be installed in China over the next five years. Global solar power capacity is expected to expand by almost 600 gigawatts by the end of 2030, and 40% of these new solar panels will be installed in China, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency. In the first quarter of 2018, China added nearly as much solar power as the US did in 2017. China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter. Air pollution is a huge and persistent problem in major Chinese cities, and residents are increasingly demanding that the government do something about it. The Chinese government has committed to fighting climate change and has thrown its
China’s glaciers are melting too fast, and humans are to blame
At 14,000 feet above sea level, a group of scientists winds their way up the Urumqi No.1 Glacier like small ants. Twice a year, glaciologist Li Zhongqin and his team come to the Tianshan Mountains in western China to check up on the health of this majestic mountain of ice. Beneath their feet, this “frozen reservoir” that irrigates a vast arid region of Central Asia is melting away rapidly, as the result of climate change. “If the air temperature grows at the current rate, this glacier will melt away in 50 years. But if we cut carbon emissions as required by the Paris climate agreement, it will be 90 years,” Li tells Inkstone. If the air temperature grows at the current rate, this glacier wi
Are hurricanes and typhoons actually getting stronger?
Last year’s storm season saw some of the most deadly hurricanes and typhoons in history. Hurricane Maria killed almost 3,000 people in the US, while in the Philippines Typhoon Nock-ten caused over $100 million worth of damage. Powerful storms seem to be getting more common, and scientists believe that climate change is the primary cause. Alan Wong explains how rising temperatures in the world’s oceans can potentially create super-storms.