China, the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, needs to accelerate efforts to decarbonize, including reducing coal consumption, the latest UN climate report says, while China has placed emphasis on coal production and coal-fired generation at least in the next few years as it prioritizes energy security.
The massive report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published this week said that the time for action is now if the world has any chance of staving off a catastrophic global warming in three decades. The report also says that "We have options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030."
In the scenarios assessed by hundreds of scientists, limiting warming to around 1.5° degrees Celsius requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43 percent by 2030.
"It's now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F)," IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea said. "Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible."
The report calls for slashing coal consumption by between 65 percent and 95 percent by 2050. In this context, China and its still large reliance on coal for power generation are under scrutiny from environmentalists.
China is one of the laggards in emissions reductions and its short-term energy policies are incompatible with the global targets, one of the report's authors said.
"The opportunity is there," Frank Jotzo, economist at the Australia National University (ANU), said at a briefing, as carried by Reuters.
"But the short-term actions overall and the near-term pledges that have been made are incompatible," he added.
Earlier this year, China said it would continue to maximize the use of coal in the coming years as it caters to its energy security, despite pledges to contribute to global efforts of reducing emissions. Chinese President Xi Jinping has told representatives from its biggest coal-producing region, Inner Mongolia, that China "could not part from reality" and that it is "rich in coal, poor in oil and short of gas." The energy transition is a long process, and China cannot just "slam the brakes" on coal, according to Xi.
China is concerned about its energy security after the autumn 2021 power crisis and, most recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which pushed energy commodity prices sky-high.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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