Despite French President Emmanuel Macron calling on China’s authoritarian leader Xi Jinping to send a “clear signal” to the world on climate change before the COP26 Scotland summit, China hasn’t submitted a clear emission goal, and Xi didn’t attend the summit.
On Oct. 26, the French Presidential Palace said in a statement that Macron urged Xi to significantly raise China’s goals in his efforts to tackle the climate crisis and make “concrete” progress toward ending China’s dependence on coal.
China, the world’s largest contributing country to CO2 emissions, has not yet released an emission goal for climate change. China has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and stop increasing emissions by 2030, but it has not yet determined a date when its emissions will reach a peak.
The Chinese regime has not only not made any new commitments in its emission reduction goals, Xi didn’t attend the summit. He only joined via virtual conference call.
On Oct. 27, just days before the COP26 Global Climate Summit, the Chinese regime released a white paper on “China’s Policies and Actions to Address Climate Change,” claiming that it has exceeded the “13th Five-Year” carbon reduction target, and will implement national goals to strengthen greenhouse gas emission control.
The White Paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council of China stated that the response to climate change has achieved “positive results.” The carbon emission intensity in 2020 reduced by 18.8 percent compared with 2015, basically stopping the rapid growth of carbon dioxide emissions.
The white paper also stated that on July 16, 2021, the national carbon market was officially launched for online trading, making it the world’s largest carbon market. As of Sept. 30, 2021, the cumulative transaction volume of carbon emission allowances in the national carbon market was approximately 17.65 million tons, and the cumulative transaction value was approximately RMB 801 million ($125 million).
China’s power supply largely relies on coal, and the country is currently experiencing its worst power crisis in 20 years. Concerns surrounding long-term energy shortages and insufficient energy supply this winter are intensifying. The regime faces a dilemma, as it has to respond to international pressure that requires China to speed up its elimination of fossil fuels, but also to maintain a stable domestic energy supply.
Some international media have speculated that Xi’s absence from the summit could be because he is not prepared to make more commitments to combat climate change or increase national targets for a reduction in emissions.