On Friday the Chinese government released some long-awaited detail on its latest five year plan, and it was not the news many were hoping for – especially after President Xi Jinping’s surprise promise to go “carbon neutral” by 2060.
Rather than following up that 2060 pledge with a radical, immediate action to curb emissions, the plan contains no absolute emissions targets, and is light on any detail of comprehensive, workable strategies to make China’s energy sector emissions free.
Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies Australia/South Asia at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, is also optimistic, saying the incredible rate at which renewable capacity is coming online is cause for hope.
“China’s President Xi explicitly plans at least a trebling of total installed VRE (variable renewable energy, so wind and solar) to over 1,200GW by 2030. I expect they will go a lot harder, but Chinese leadership likes to ‘do then say’, as opposed to Western leaders talking about what they might subsequently do,” he says.