China to prioritize ‘green development,’ but will it be enough to peak emissions this decade?

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Last week, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa gave a dire warning that the world’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions was still far short of what is needed to avert disaster. “We are collectively wandering into a minefield, blindfolded,” Espinosa said, noting that the combined national climate action plans submitted so far would not even reduce global emissions by 1% by 2030 compared with those in 2010.

  • China, the U.S., and India — the top three emitting countries — have not yet submitted their action plans to the UN.
  • Last year, Chinese leader Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 made the unexpected announcement that China would aim to peak emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2060.
  • The details for China’s next few years, however, remain unclear.

China is expected to prioritize “green development” at the “Two Sessions” political gatherings that start in Beijing on March 4 and 5. The other expected top priorities, according to state news agency Xinhua, are “quality” economic development, “dual circulation,” and science and technology innovation.

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