An aerial photo of the Haizhu wetland and the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province, on Feb 24, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
At the general debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September last year, China announced that it would aim to achieve peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060.
This is a major strategic decision made by the Communist Party of China to achieve sustainable development for the Chinese nation and build a community of a shared future for mankind. It demonstrates China's determination in pursuing green and low-carbon development and its responsibility as a major country to actively tackle climate change and safeguard a bright future for humanity.
The goals for peak CO2 emissions and carbon neutrality constitute a strategic choice for the sake of humanity's future as well as for realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. As important tasks in building a beautiful China, requisites for meeting the people's new expectations for a better life, and powerful tools for promoting high-quality development and realizing economic and social transformation, reaching peak CO2 emissions and carbon neutrality are closely related to China's development goals. Those goals include growth driven by innovation, optimization of industrial structures, and the fostering of a new development paradigm. With these targets in mind, China is working to create a comprehensive macro-system to help build itself into a modern socialist country alongside the historic task of ecological conservation.
In addition, these goals are essential to building a community with a shared future for mankind. In the face of worsening global climate change, it's the common aspiration of the people everywhere to deepen cooperation on global energy governance, jointly promote sustainable global energy development, and collectively build a clean and beautiful world. Building new drivers of growth through low-carbon transformation is an important measure for China to share the dividends of its modernization with the world as well as an outstanding contribution China has been making in achieving the goals set by the Paris Agreement and in improving the global governance.
These goals are also self-enforced reforms laid out by China as it embarks on a new journey of modernization. Against the backdrop of the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the sluggish recovery of the world economy, it will be arduous for China to achieve rapid emission reduction while maintaining sustained and stable economic and social development.
Peaking CO2 emissions and reaching carbon neutrality will require extensive and profound systematic changes both economically and socially. The key is to follow a new development philosophy and adopt systematic thinking, take the overall green renewal of the economic and social development as the guide and green low-carbon energy development as the focus, and speed up the development of industrial structures, ways of work and life, and spatial layouts that help conserve resources and protect the environment. We will unswervingly follow the path of high-quality development that prioritizes ecological preservation and boosts green and low-carbon development and aim to achieve peak emissions and reach neutrality via efficient emission cuts and high-quality development.
We must also give better play to China's institutional strengths, make scientific plans for carbon emission reduction, and adopt targeted policies through national coordination. We should give top priority to conserving energy and resources; make good use of the role of the government; strengthen innovation in science, technology, and institutions; and formulate an effective incentive and restraint mechanism to create a strong impetus for becoming carbon neutral.
These goals indicate China is performing its responsibility as a major country. China's announcement of its "carbon peak and neutrality" targets is by far the largest climate commitment to reducing global warming expectations made by any country. As the world's largest developing country, and at a critical stage in its own development, China is committed to completing the world's most dramatic reduction in carbon emissions and realizing carbon neutrality in the shortest time ever recorded. This fully demonstrates that China has shouldered its responsibility in actively addressing climate change and will do its part to facilitate the sustainable development of the world.
Following China's commitment, the international response to climate change has accelerated across the board. In April, China, France and Germany have reached consensuses during a video summit for cooperating and coping with climate change. China and the United States also have issued a joint statement addressing the climate crisis, demonstrating China's part in helping to lead in green and low-carbon development internationally via practical actions.
This article was written in Chinese and translated by Xu Xiaoxuan.
Dr. Zhou Luming is editor of Qiushi Journal. His research interests include China's diplomacy and international relations.
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