China should enforce absolute CO2 emissions cap – advisory body

SHANGHAI (CHINA) – China needs to impose an absolute cap on carbon emissions during the 2021-2025 period to help meet its climate goals, an influential government advisory body said in a new report.

China currently has no set cap on greenhouse gas emissions, now the highest in the world at more than 10 billion tonnes a year, but it aims to bring them to a peak before 2030 before becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2060.

The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), a policy research body chaired by Vice Premier Han Zheng, said China needs to establish mechanisms to control absolute emission levels and impose caps on individual provinces and industries.

In recommendations published on Thursday, it also urged China to improve its flawed carbon pricing system, devise detailed plans and timetables to electrify its transport system and remove conventional vehicles, and to create a renewables-based energy system.

The council’s specific role is to draw up policy recommendations for government but their adoption is not guaranteed.

As the world’s biggest producer of climate-warming greenhouse gases, China’s near-term ambitions are in the spotlight ahead of the next round of global talks set to go ahead in Glasgow in November.

US climate envoy John Kerry and the British minister in charge of Glasgow COP26 Alok Sharma both visited China earlier this month to discuss bilateral climate cooperation.

China is about to release updated “nationally determined contributions” aimed at meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and it has previously said it would “enhance ambition”.

But it has come under increasing pressure to do more to curb coal consumption and slash investment in carbon-intensive projects at home and abroad.

CCICED said China should “restrict and gradually stop” the use of public funds in overseas coal power investment, as well as “take the initiative” in global international climate cooperation and governance.

“It is recommended that China actively assumes the responsibility of a major country to promote global green and low-carbon development,” it said.

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