From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Net Zero
Mains level : Climate change commitments
Context- Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping made two promises that came as a welcome surprise to climate change watchers.
What has China announced ?
- First, Xi said, China would become carbon net-zero by the year 2060.
- Net-zero is a state in which a country’s emissions are compensated by absorptions and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
- Absorption can be increased by creating more carbon sinks such as forests, while removal involves application of technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
- Second, the Chinese President announced a small but important change in China’s already committed target for letting its emissions “peak”, from “by 2030” to “before 2030”.
- That means China would not allow its greenhouse gas emissions to grow beyond that point.
- Xi did not specify how soon “before 2030” means, but even this much is being seen as a very positive move from the world’s largest emitter.
How significant is China’s commitment?
- China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. It accounts for almost 30% of global emissions, more than the combined emissions in the United States, the European Union and India, the three next biggest emitters.
- Getting China to commit itself to a net-zero target is a big breakthrough, especially since countries have been reluctant to pledge themselves to such long term commitments.
- So far, the European Union was the only big emitter to have committed itself to a net-zero emission status by 2050.