(Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said China would step up its efforts to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and fulfil its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, according to the official news agency Xinhua.
“You can count on China to keep its promise,” Xi, who was addressing the 12th BRICS summit via video link, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
China, which produces 29% of global emissions, is investing in renewables while also building hundreds of new, carbon-intensive coal plants and eyeing energy-intensive infrastructure projects to help accelerate its post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
“Global warming will not stop due to COVID-19. To tackle climate change, we must never relax our efforts,” Xi said, adding that China would continue to redouble its efforts to respond to climate change.
Xi first said China would achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 in speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September, when he also urged all countries to pursue a “green recovery” of the world economy in the post-COVID era.
A former U.S. climate negotiator, Andrew Light, said China’s announcement was aimed at setting the agenda and getting ahead of pressure from former vice president Joe Biden if he became president. Biden, now-president elect, has promised to set a U.S. goal for net-zero emissions by 2050.