China’s comprehensive national strength has laid a solid economic foundation for achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. Achieving that goal would mean economic restructuring and changing the energy consumption pattern, both supported by a strong economy.
China’s economic aggregate exceeded 100 trillion yuan ($15.39 trillion) in 2020 and it has vowed to maintain a medium-to-high economic growth rate by promoting innovation and comprehensively deepening reform. China aims to establish a modern economic system by 2035 by promoting a new type of industrialization, informationization, urbanization and modernization of agriculture.
The development of green and new energy technologies will also lay the foundation for achieving carbon neutrality. China already is a global leader in renewable energy and new energy vehicles, and has strong equipment manufacturing capacity with advantages in some core technologies and industrial chains.
In 2019, China’s installed hydropower, wind power and solar power capacities accounted for 30.1 percent, 28.4 percent and 30.9 percent respectively of the world’s total. As for the photovoltaic industry, China has the world’s largest production and market scale and has localized the entire industrial chain.
China’s carbon emissions per unit of GDP fell by 18.2 percent in 2019 compared with 2015 and 48.1 percent compared with 2005, basically reversing the rapid growth of carbon emissions. And the cost of new energy continues to decline. For example, the costs of photovoltaic power and wind power generation in 2019 were 82 percent and 39 percent lower than in 2010, forming a competitive advantage over coal power prices.
Institutional and social advantages will help China realize carbon neutrality before 2060. The Chinese society has reached a consensus on pursuing low-carbon, green development. As China’s economy grows and society progresses, greater attention is being paid to environmental protection and eco-friendly constructions.
By constantly reducing carbon emissions in recent years, China has convinced people that such an exercise does not hinder economic growth. In fact, people have embraced the idea that “clear waters and green mountains are golden and silver hills”.
They now believe that the pursuit of carbon neutrality will hasten the development of clean technologies and further reduce the cost and price of clean energy.