Trump's United States is regressing on the climate plan, Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised on Tuesday. Before the UN General Assembly, which is being held virtually from September 22 to 29, he announced for the first time that China, the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, is committed to a goal of neutrality carbon by 2060.
China reducing CO2 before 2030
In addition to wanting to "start reducing CO2 emissions before 2030", he also specified that Beijing was going to increase its climate commitments as part of the Paris agreement. "All countries must take decisive measures to honor this agreement," said Xi Jinping, implicitly targeting Donald Trump and the United States, which must withdraw from it during the month of November.
An objective hailed by experts in China
According to experts, the Chinese goal does not seem too illusory. Although less ambitious than the 2050 deadline adopted by many member countries, the date of 2060 was hailed as a major step forward in moving the Paris Agreement forward.
"The devil is in the details and China will need to set specific short-term goals, as well as an earlier peak date (the 2030 cap for emissions reductions, nldr), but the path taken by China to a zero carbon future is becoming clearer, "said Helen Mountford, vice president of the World Resources Institute to AFP. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Belgian climatologist and former vice-president of the IPCC, for his part declared that the Chinese announcement is "very important", warning however that the country should be "coherent", in particular by stopping the financing of power plants in coal or other fossil fuel infrastructure in Africa.
The most "realistic" date for the Paris agreement
The commitments made by the member countries of the Paris Agreement are set freely. However, they engage them and must be regularly revised upwards.
The next round of hikes is seen as crucial to genuinely shifting the global emissions curve and limiting global warming. Because reducing the net carbon emissions into the atmosphere to zero by the middle of the 19th century is essential to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C, compared to the end of the 19th century. In China, 2060 "is probably the closest realistic date", agrees Neil Hirst, researcher at Imperial College London with AFP. "It is a big challenge which will involve the shutdown or the renovation of a large number of relatively modern fossil fuel power stations", he points out.
The downside of the objectives announced for the experts: the date of 2030 as the deadline for reducing emissions. It seems unambitious considering that China was already on track on this point due to the rapid growth of renewables in the country.
Donald Trump, annoyed by China
On the American side, the President of the United States Donald Trump did not fail to respond to his Chinese counterpart, still before the United Nations. He notably accused China of "dumping millions and millions of tons of plastic and waste into the oceans", as well as other environmental violations. He also recalled that US CO2 emissions had fallen last year.
Chinese Ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, replied that the United States presents a lesson for no one: "It is they who did not ratify the Kyoto protocol, they who left the agreement. from Paris".
Despite the decline in American emissions, Donald Trump, withdrawing his country from the agreement and demolishing several pillars of Barack Obama's climate plan, has always slowed down the progress of the United States. The future of the 2015 deal will be in part determined by the US presidential election on November 3. Democratic candidate Joe Biden has pledged to become a signatory again, and achieves carbon neutrality in 2050.
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