2060 neutrality pledge includes all greenhouses gases

It’s official. China’s 2060 carbon neutrality pledge covers all greenhouse gas emissions, not just CO2. Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change made the clarification at a global asset management forum in Beijing last Saturday, 24 July.

Ever since the announcement last September of the 2060 goal, there has been speculation on the exact scope of the pledge. “What about non-CO2 gases? How will China define neutrality?” the Energy Foundation China’s Vance Wagner asked in his China Dialogue commentary. The government was vague on that very point. But scholars in high places have created models and roadmaps that assume the pledge covers non-CO2 greenhouse gases such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons, which are extremely potent. In such projections, China’s CO2 emissions would need to reach net zero emissions by 2050, while the other greenhouse gases will achieve net zero a decade later.

Xie’s comment provided much needed clarity for China’s climate policy-making and interpretation. At the summit, he also revealed that 10 sectoral climate action plans are in the making: “The international community is keen on learning if China has a timetable and roadmap for reaching carbon neutrality. The sectoral action plans should provide the answer.”

These action plans cover the control of: fossil fuel, industrial upgrading, energy efficiency in buildings, low-carbon transportation, circular economy, technology innovation, green finance, economic policy, the carbon market, and nature-based solutions.

The creation and publication of those action plans will be coordinated by the Leading Group for Carbon Peaking and Carbon Neutrality – a high-level decision-making body set up in June this year, and headed by Vice Premier Han Zheng. 

Read China Dialogue’s coverage of China’s 2060 carbon neutrality pledge here