"China will cut carbon emissions by over 65% by 2030" according to Chinese President Xi Jinping. In addition two new studies published by the leading and highly influential Chinese Climate research institutes at Tsinghua university model net-zero emissions by 2050 and carbon neutrality by 2060. These models suggest a 10x increase in solar and wind and a 7x increase in nuclear by 2050. By 2050 China is forecasted to have more nuclear capacity then the rest of the world combined.
What explains the policy shift away from a logic of differential responsibilities whereby climate change was seen as a problem created by the west and the west's responsibility to mitigate?
China is vulnerable to climate change. Energy security is a another major issue with the memory of a US imposed oil blockade during the Korean war and 70% of its oil being imported via the strategic and vulnerable straights of Malacca. Finally in the context of Trump's abandonment of the Paris Accords Chinese leadership on climate change comes with some soft power benefits.
I am joined by Dr. Seaver Wang a climate and energy analyst at the Breakthrough institute to break it all down for us.