How will China deliver 2060 net zero emissions?

How will China hit 2060 net-zero emissions given it by far the world’s largest polluter?

Goldman has a crack at it:

China’s pledge to achieve net zero carbon by 2060 represents two-thirds of the c.48% of global emissions from countries that have pledged net zero…
…as the country accounts for c.30% of global CO2 emissions (2019), and c.64% of the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2000…
…despite a substantial reduction of c.40% in the CO2 intensity of its economic output (CO2 emissions per GDP) since 2000.
China’s net zero path leads, on our estimates, to a US$16 tn clean tech infrastructure investment opportunity by 2060 and c.40 mn net new jobs.
Renewable power is the most important technology, potentially aiding the decarbonization of c.50% of Chinese CO2 emissions…
…and we expect China’s power generation to triple to 2060, driven mostly by solar, wind, nuclear and hydro generation.
Electrification transforms road transportation, with almost 100% penetration of new energy vehicles (NEVs) by 2060 requiring a > US$1 tn investment opportunity in charging infrastructure…
…and a c.15% rise in annual copper demand, with notable increases in aluminium, lithium and nickel too.
Clean hydrogen drives c. 20% of the de-carbonization, mostly in industry, heating and long-haul transport…
…and we estimate that the market for hydrogen could increase 7x by 2060, from c.25 Mtpa to c.170 Mtpa.
Carbon capture is another critical technology with a wide range of industrial applications, critical to decarbonize c.15% of the country’s emissions.
Net international trade contributes c.13% of China’s CO2 emissions through net exports (and c.20% for gross exports)…
…whose competitiveness could be affected by a border adjustment of carbon taxes that could cost China up to US$240 bn pa for a carbon tax of US$100/tnCO2 applied to the entire carbon footprint of gross exported emissions…
…highlighting the importance of a clear de-carbonization strategy and the implementation of carbon pricing schemes, with China’s upcoming national ETS expected to be the largest globally and bring the total share of global GHG emissions covered by carbon schemes to c.23%.

And all of this while it makes war on everybody else. How is it going to be verified or enforced?

I am an optimist and we must try. But the phrase “an ice block’s chance in hell” comes to mind.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. This promise is about as trustworthy as any promise by the CCP.
    Remember the promise Xi made to not militarise the South China Sea? That was valid for about 3 years. The promises made about Hong Kong in 1997 sure didn’t last either.
    A promise for 2060…

  2. master of toilet paper

    idk why the chinese govt have worked to promote widespread automobile ownership, attempting to adopt the huge western mistake of automobile-centrism has been one of the ccp’s biggest blunders in the last 20 or so yrs. car ownership is something that should be reserved for those with specialised societal roles, maybe 10% of the global population at most.

      • master of toilet paper

        even if their entire fleet is EVs its still a bad idea, widespread automobile ownership is a massive resource sink. and thats not even considering all the other unpleasant effects it has on cities and society.

      • Jumping jack flash

        Its easy to uptake EVs when you have no Vs to begin with.
        Do they count those electric scooters I can get for $800 from AliExpress? Are they more or less environmentally damaging to make than a pushbike?

      • Strange Economics

        20Kg Electric scooters or bicycles for local transport and trains for longer distances are of course 100 times better than a fleet of 1 tonne vehicles.

        But getting people out of their cars is too hard – in fact getting a car is often the dream – and most people except those already in the inner city are stuck in the suburbs and 4 cars a house is about right.
        And its yet again it flows from the house price problem – Count how many times have you heard from people – I moved way out to XXXXX because I could afford a big house – thats the number 1 dream in Australia, and then bought 3 cars and commute 1 hour happily.

        Bikes less coal fired electricity too per trip. But to get the population out of their cars is a philosophical challenge.

        The old cities in China and Japan were all local and only bicicles, but like the USA and most of Sydney and Melbourne now full of SUVs and 300KW Euro luxury sport cars. the modern world is now designed for long car journeys to the suburbs.

        But if you are going to run cars,well it looks that EVs are likely to take over.(Powered by Coal or solar or nuclear is TBD)

        Cities can do it – look at Singapore, where private cars are taxed out of reach,

        • master of toilet paper

          take objection to the ‘commute 1 hour happily’ part

          no one commutes 1 hour happily, these ppl are coping hard and just pretending their lives dont suck balls and that theyhavent been suckered

          • Strange Economics

            Yes but very low car ownership – 11% and high taxes for cars (Low taxes for expats) . Mind you only 70 km island to drive and great metro rail system.

    • kierans777MEMBER

      Agreed. Entrenching car dominance was the worst city planning and transportation idea Cindia could have taken from the west.

      Private EVs will not save us, there aren’t enough resources. If we want to gracefully slide down the collapse pole we need to redesign our cities for mass PT, walking and cycling.

  3. Old Chinese Proverb: Xi Jinping 2060 net zero promise has equal merit with Scott Morrison 2050 promise.

    Net zero is a UN fairy story, and doesn’t Woke Australia love fairy stories. Yes, Matt Keen, thinking of you.

  4. Jumping jack flash

    “I am an optimist and we must try. But the phrase “an ice block’s chance in hell” comes to mind.”

    Fortunately 2060 is so long away that nobody actually cares.
    We will need to have median house prices of close to 20 million by then. Nobody will need to care. Nobody cares how that will be achieved either.

    Which brings up another interesting point, is a whole 40 years for them to achieve net zero in line with the “climate emergency” everyone would have us believe is required right now? It seems to be an acceptable timeframe. Nobody seems to be jumping up and down and shouting “Emergency! Emerrrrgency!!” at them… at least not yet.

    I believe there is another agenda… *adjusts tinfoil hat*. Someone has to be able to make the things we use, while everyone else dismantles all their industry and instead of making stuff to sell, which is incredibly damaging for the planet, gets by on perpetually inflating debt, [and maybe tries to mitigate the damage of the making of stuff by adding carbon tariffs to everything made] while basking in the glow of self-satisfaction that they’re part of the solution, and not part of the problem.

    Besides I probably won’t be on this plane of existence in 40 years. It is also highly likely that everyone in charge of all of this at the moment will no longer be around, or too old to care whether they achieve it or not.

    Words are cheap.

  5. But the phrase “an ice block’s chance in hell” comes to mind.
    The rationalist in me agrees but that said nothing about the last 20 years of the China story has been rational.
    They should have collapsed Socially and Politically, they should have already fallen into the middle income trap, they should have out run their Monetary system, achieving this ambitious target should be the last of their worries, yet here we are!
    Logically it is a near on impossible target but even a decade ago the concept that PV Storage would actually be cheaper than Coal was laughable and we all laughed while China chipped away at the problem and the costs fell and fell and fell some more. And one day we wake up and realize that coal is no longer king of Electricity generation, as it is nobody in their right mind is investing a single penny in Coal fired generation (well not if they have a choice), that’s one of the biggest dominoes and it has already fallen.
    Next we need to comprehensively topple the Transport monster, and guess what they’re working on it
    After that is all the Industrial processes, plastics, fertilizer, steel …it’s a long list but nothing on the list is impossible
    So can China achieve this goal? I seriously doubt it, but then again there are plenty of people who bet their shirts that Renewables would never displace Coal they doubled down with their undies and now I have to watch their sorry flabby naked a55es running around town.
    So personally I’m not taking any bets that China can’t achieve this 2060 decarbonization goal.

  6. PR BS to avoid accountability here and now … meanwhile China is in a race to dominate so that when the world becomes a Mad Max-esque dystopia, it will be China who export chaos and force whilst hoarding remaining resources.

  7. Charles MartinMEMBER

    While China is still categorised as a “developing” country and enjoy the same special and differential treatment afforded to nations like Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe, Chairman Xi doesn’t need to a godamn thing. He can just sit there being angry at everyone for daring to question anything he does.
    Remove the developing country status from them for a start.

  8. Just like their handling of COVID-19, when it comes to China pursuing initiatives for the greater good of the global community, one would expect nothing other than self-interest to drive their actions. Considering how many Chinese citizens still today live in primitive conditions, one could expect China to prioritise bringing on electricity generation capacity of all kinds as quickly as possible over, say, only bringing on electricity generation capacity if it also emits zero carbon.

  9. They’ll use the Wuhan Lab approach to meeting their targets; they’ll lie.

    And any country that has the temerity to call them on it will suffer their wrath.

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