China pledges to go carbon neutral by 2060


Hunter Berube

Suffolk Climate Watch graphic

China announced on Sept 22, that it has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060. The country is the largest global producer of carbon dioxide, producing 28% of emissions today, according to Science Magazine.

If China successfully reaches the goal of this pledge, the country could increase its gross domestic product (GDP) as much as 5% and reduce emissions, according to VOX.

Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the pledge among the United Nations General Assembly over video. In order for the country to become carbon neutral, this would mean the use of clean energy sources from now on, while neutralizing remaining emissions, according to Science Magazine

“We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,”  Jinping said during the announcement.

According to Carbon Brief, there are many investments and policies required in order to make this a reality. 

Climate experts in China have come up with a plan, suggesting the country increase emissions by 2030 and then quickly decrease them by 2050. Doing so would allow them to get close to carbon neutrality. The plan is being recommended to China’s leaders.

“I think that it is possible for China to meet this goal, however, to do so the country would have to completely transform its economic structure,” said Diana Gastelum, a Suffolk University student studying environmental studies, concentrating in environmental policy.

The country is currently looking to share a five-year plan regarding the climate crisis under the Paris Agreement, according to VOX.

Although these actions only regard China, “spillover” effects could be seen in different parts of the world. In other words, emissions can decline in other countries, even if these countries did not implement any policies, according to Carbon Brief.

If this were to occur, it could possibly stop 500 metric tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.

“China’s interest in climate change has waned in recent years, due to the slowing down of economic growth and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement,”  Junjie Zhang, an environmental economist at Duke Kunshan University, told Science Magazine. “The commitment on carbon neutrality reignited hopes for China’s climate action.”