onsdag 7. oktober 2020

China needs an economic revolution to deliver Xi's ambitious climate agenda

There's no solution to the climate crisis without China. President Xi Jinping just gave hope it might deliver one. But his pledge to make his country carbon neutral within 40 years — delivered late last month at the United Nations — will require nothing short of a revolution for the world's biggest polluter.

The problem is that China's vast economy just isn't built for a dramatic pivot to green policy. It spent decades staking its ascent on massive infrastructure projects and manufacturing, building an economic engine that is now heavily reliant on dirty energy. The country burns billions of tons of coal each year and uses hundreds of millions of barrels of oil — and analysts say that economic pressures caused by Covid-19 and tensions with the West are pushing China to spend more on those energy sources, not less. And while the Chinese government has enacted policies meant to curb emissions, research has shown that they haven't really moved the needle.