What Is China Doing To Combat Global Warming

Since its ascension to the economic powerhouse it is today, China has had a mixed track record when it comes to dealing with global warming. Although there are many cases where the country has failed to meet its own climate commitments, recent years have seen impressive progress in terms of domestic greenhouse gas reduction targets, renewable energy investment, and international collaboration. As the world’s most populous nation becomes increasingly aware of its own environmental responsibilities, China is setting itself up to play a key role in addressing our common global issues.

In 2017, China pledged to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 – a commitment that had already begun to be realized. Between 2005 and 2020, China’s carbon dioxide emissions fell by 14 percent, even as its gross domestic product (GDP) more than quadrupled in the same period. This was mainly due to increased renewable energy investments, with China adding more clean energy capacity in 2019 than any other nation. As of 2019, China held the world’s largest wind and solar capacity, increasing its share of electricity from renewable sources to 34 percent – ten points higher than its 2020 target.

The country has also taken steps to reduce its reliance on coal-fired power plants, most notably through the 2018 roll-out of the Carbon Cap Plan, a set of regulations limiting coal consumption. By introducing the Carbon Cap Plan, China has reduced its coal consumption by 14 percent over the past decade, albeit still accounting for 54 percent of the world’s total energy consumption. This initiative is complemented by the targeted construction of renewable energy projects, as well as the development of efficient energy grids that enable citizens to use renewable energy sourced from remote locations.

Not content with leading from within, China has also moved to collaborate with other nations on climate initiatives. In 2015, for the first time ever, China partnered with the US and other key economies to sign the Paris Agreement, with the ultimate goal of countering global warming. The accord prompted China to publicly disclose and publish its domestic emissions target, while also affirming its commitment to produce and store clean energy, reduce carbon intensity, and develop and promote green urban infrastructure.

Further evidence of China’s commitment to global climate action is seen in its promotion of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Solar Alliance (ISA). China is one of the key signatories of IRENA, a global organization working to transition to a clean energy economy, while its One Belt One Road programme has helped to reduce the cost and time of furthering solar power projects in Asia and Africa. China has also been an advocate of the ISA, providing financial support to countries like India and Bangladesh, with the aim of expanding solar energy deployment.

Taking all of this into account, China’s efforts to reduce emissions and promote renewable energy sources cannot be overlooked. Despite its shortcomings, China’s investment in renewable energy sources has been of global significance. That said, there is still much to be done if China is to further reduce its emissions, meet its Paris Agreement targets, and help move the world in a greener direction.

To achieve this, China must make greater strides in relation to its Carbon Cap Plan, while continuing to engage with other climate initiatives and collaborate with other nations. It must also focus on adapting its current renewable energy plans, introducing policies that will discourage coal-fired power plants, and developing longer-term, clean energy strategies. If China can rise to these and other environmental challenges, then it can not only lead by example, but also play an undeniably influential role in ending our global climate crisis.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

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