China pledges carbon neutral target in 2060

Via The Fake Left:

Australia’s resistance to a mid-century net zero emissions target is likely to become increasingly unsustainable after China surprised global leaders by pledging it would reach “carbon neutrality” before 2060, climate analysts and advocates say.

The announcement by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, at the UN general assembly on Tuesday means the world’s biggest emitter has a more ambitious long-term climate goal than Australia despite still being considered an emerging economy.

Xi said China would update its Paris agreement commitments to carbon dioxide emissions peaking before 2030 and reaching “neutrality” – zero additional emissions into the atmosphere – by 2060. He called for a “green recovery of the world” from the Covid-19 pandemic and promised to introduce “vigorous policies”.

It is the first time China, which is responsible for about half of global coal use and has driven much of the recent rise in emissions, has said it would end its net contribution to the climate crisis. It follows the European Union last week strengthening its Paris commitments, including pledging to cut emissions by 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said on Sunday the government had committed to reach net zero emissions in the second half of the century, rejecting a call from business, industrial, farming and union groups for it to set that target for 2050. The government has not set a formal long-term target, and has said it does not intend to change its 2030 goal – a 26-28% cut below 2005 levels – before a major UN climate meeting in Glasgow next year.

Dean Bialek, a former Australian diplomat to the UN now working with ex-UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and the British government’s climate action champion Nigel Topping, said China’s increased climate ambition was “a very important step forward” and would shift the focus of global climate talks.

He contrasted it with the Australian government releasing a low-emissions technology statement on Tuesday that was “completely open ended” on where the country’s emissions were headed.

“We often hear from the Australian government that China’s doing nothing and that as a result it’s useless for Australia to propose ambitious targets, but this new announcement flies in the face of that,” Bialek said. “It will further isolate Australia on climate policy internationally.”

He said Australia could end up exposed to measures that imposed a cost on the trade of carbon-intensive goods. “This is not just a moral multilateral argument. Australia’s laggard status might have very significant negative economic consequences,” he said.

Kobad Bhavnagri, the Sydney-based global head of industrial decarbonisation with analysts Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said China’s announcement was a monumental shift, noting the country’s per capita wealth remained a fraction of Australia’s.

“It basically leaves Australia naked in the wind,” he said. “The old excuses for our inaction are shattered. It is an unsustainable position for Australia to continue.”Erwin Jackson, policy director with the Investor Group on Climate Change, said China’s announcement was a reminder that Australia, as a carbon-intensive economy, was heavily exposed to “the inevitable transition” to net zero emissions. “Unless

Australia positions itself to attract investment in this transition it risks being caught up in a flight of global capital away from fossil fuels,” he said.

China’s previous commitment was to aim for its emissions to peak in about 2030. It follows a period in which the country has noticeably increased the construction of coal-fired power plants, leaving it with an oversupply.

A nice pledge with no detail. How it intends to resolve this is not clear:

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)


  1. I read about this yesterday or the day before and I am not 100% sure (but still think probably is) if this is genuine push by China to reduce pollution or just to please EU.
    The reason why I think is genuine is because ticks lot of boxes that China wants to tick.
    1. Air pollution in big cities is very unpopular and this move will please very large percentage of its population.
    2. Reduce pressure on the healthcare system by dramatically reducing respiratory diseases.
    3. Reduce its reliance on Coal imports – bad for us.
    4. Reduce oil imports.
    5. Keep developing its wind and solar industries while reducing some heavy polluting ones – shut down few old and polluting steel mills and with that reduce its IO imports. bad for us.

    edit: almost forgot – they need to stimulate anyway so why not where it makes sense rather than keep building empty cities that require more IO from Oz.

    • Speaking of multilateral (bilateral is so out of date since the UN conference) I wonder these calculations are in the fine print.

      6. Annex the Galwan Region and dam the rivers to get Hydro power, (at the same time keeping India in its place).
      7. More dams on the upper Mekong to get more Hydro power, the only by-product is suffering for the riparian states below
      8. Annex Laos and more Mekong dams and create even more suffering for the riparian states below
      9. Annex Myanmar and more dams
      10. More of the above, all of which is carbon neutral

    • Agreed.

      Set the strategy and let the underlings work out the tactics.

      With the usual caveat applying: don’t assume those tactics will include delivering up performance data that enjoys a direct causal relationship with the results achieved by the underlings.

    • Your comment is the only that so far makes any sense.
      I’d add that the sooner China adopts the bandwagon of “green” the sooner it will have products to sell to the mob that thinks having a Tesla in the gsrage and rooftop panels will save the planet whilst life can continue to spiral deeper into consummerism.
      If this ends up true, it will be a smart move towards rhe next business boom

    • Not so sure about this.
      – having clean and air and water doesn’t require carbon neutrality. We have clean air and water here in Straya and we’re light years away from carbon neutrality. If China has an environment on a par with ours currently by 2050 I’ll be shocked. They need to keep a vast population economically relevant – climate and the environment are secondary I would think. And high economic activity stands in stark opposition to carbon neutrality.
      – I know the idea of pursuing all these green initiatives is seen as stimulative for the economy but this is economic ‘bunkum’. They’re stimulative to the extent that they involve Govt spending but having people dig ditches is also stimulative for the same reason. These initiatives are an economic cost to the country not an economic opportunity – unless they lead to China developing a product or technology which they then export to the rest of the world.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t trust either Xi nor the CCP. This smacks of wishful thinking or outright deceit.

      • well it covers your points and I’ll add few more but first your points about creating products that will be sold to the world:

        1. China already leads in solar and wind (I know they stole this tech from Germany) and by investing even more they will end up developing even more advanced materials and truly lead and sell to rest of the world.
        2. Long term productivity grows when fewer people call sick due to illness and people are more productive when they are healthy.
        Now few more strategic points why cleaning the environment is in China’s interests and why it will drive progress as much as building empty cities and also improve productivity over long term.
        First there is steel glut and China has been accused of dumping steel in EU, US and many other countries. China shuts down the oldest and most polluting steel mills and they win on many fronts – no more dumping which improves their image abroad, reduces air pollution which again improves their image abroad but also is very popular in their largest cities.
        But what about all those unemployed? Easy fix. Some that are in more remote areas – fck em – not enough to cause trouble Xi can’t deal with.
        Rest of them redeploy in newly built solar panel or wind turbine factories and land restoration initiatives.
        China has massive areas of polluted land that is near many cities that can be restored and turned into agricultural land. Start land restoration program and employ workers from shut steel mills and construction industry. Reduce construction industry by 30% – no more empty cities as this is their biggest ponzi while makes China dependent on Australian IO.
        Land restoration stimulates China’s chemical industry, increases food production, reduces food imports, increases productivity. Again, very popular with their citizens. Increasing quality of their food also increases the confidence of their citizens to buy made in China food.
        I bet these initiatives have lot more economic opportunity than building empty cities.
        No one calculates the cost on the health system in any country and in China due to their massive air and water pollution will be massive and directly impacts productivity.

        • PaperRooDogMEMBER

          Also Xi sees China taking it’s rightful police as the leading country of the world the central kingdom that every other kingdom comes to kowtow, China wouldn’t want to inherit a broken world system boat a clean & productive one & they can then claim how great is Xi’s thoughts white Chinese characteristics etc

        • I hope they do the right thing mate — and if they do, good on them. My fear is they’ll build a war machine and forget the rest. Appreciate your considered comments as always.

  2. “How it intends to resolve”? It doesn’t. Net Zero is a fairy story, apparently invented by a 2013 pride of “lioness” activists. But don’t economists just love them, for kicking the can down the road to 2050.

    Net Zero assumes bold engineering fixes – to ensure full-on renewables. It repurposes the broken environment – as a high-performance carbon-sink. It blithely assumes – this sink can durably absorb human emissions-residues.

  3. Xi is lying, because he’s a liar.

    So they’re going to have net zero agriculture too? Because that’s the implication. That should work out well.

  4. Carbon neutral – the same way North Korea has no nuclear programme.

    What are you going to do Mr Brix – write a nasty letter??

  5. The same way everything is done in China. By fudging the numbers and/or outright lying.

    Truth is whatever the CCP says it is.

  6. macaroni jewelerMEMBER

    “China pledges carbon neutral target in 2060″… I didn’t read any further than this.
    Given the fact that human exponential population growth is on the verge of collapse at 8 billion, I’d guesstimate there is a huge chance that human carbon emissions will be negative 99% in 40 years time.
    just a thought, but also a double digit probability.

    • Quite a foot-tapping little ditty.

      Commenting on the positives and negatives of the cultural revolution is not necessarily verboten. The debate continues about Mao, as far as I am aware, with the recent tilt being a more favourable memory.

  7. PaperRooDogMEMBER

    Maybe when China is carbon neutral and we are still running on coal & gas Aussie’s will finally realise we are now the backward banana republic & take some action, though it’ll be too late as technology will be developing at such a rate we’ll never get back to first world status. We’ll be like a big Bali for tourists from developed countries.

  8. It’s a no brainer, China plans to have only EVs by 2030, so that’s almost all the oil gone (except airlines I guess), and nuclear will replace all fossil fuel power plants, maybe with some solar and wind mixed in just for show.

    Notice they haven’t built any coal power plants lately – at some point they were opening a new one every 2 weeks, now they are just letting the old ones retire, and they will all be replaced with nuclear and maybe some gas in the interim. Gas is the cleanest and best of the fossil fuels, so always a good idea to keep some of that around anyway just in case.

    This will also severely improve their dependence on other countries for fossil fuels, and Russia has already signed 30 years gas contracts, very reliable partner for China, zero chance for any political problems.