Climate Change Conference without China’s head of state

The People's Republic is the world's largest CO2 emitter. Not much can be done in climate protection without the country.

But head of state and party leader Xi is staying away from the COP27 climate conference. He just sends a climate diplomat.

The UN climate conference is not the top topic in the Chinese state media. While China is sending a climate diplomat to Egypt, head of state and party leader Xi Jinping is doing his own thing in the Chinese capital Beijing. The top news in China: Xi congratulates the Beijing-based International Bamboo and Rattan Organization, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It is about renewable raw materials such as bamboo and rattan instead of plastic. It’s about a clean home. About environmental protection, less about climate protection.

Act to limit the damage

This is characteristic of China, which, for example, has worked very hard in recent years in its own interest to get its high smog levels in the industrial cities under control. In fact, the air quality has gotten better.

In Egypt, the Chinese climate diplomat Xie Zhenhua talks about helping developing countries that are particularly affected by climate change. It’s less about personal responsibility and more about mitigating what China continues to cause.

Because the second largest economy in the world is the largest emitter of CO2 worldwide and emissions continue to rise.

The world’s second largest solar park is in China

China likes to emphasize its own investments in renewable energies. And it’s true: no country invests more in renewable energies than China. In the People’s Republic is the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world, the second largest solar park in the world, and there are also huge wind farms.

New coal power plants for energy security

Despite this, China continues to build coal-fired power plants. The country requires the most electricity in the world and energy security is a top priority for the world’s most populous country.

CO2 emissions should therefore continue to rise year after year until 2030. Up to the so-called peak, the high point of CO2 emissions. Only then should the emission of greenhouse gases decrease again. President Xi reiterated this plan at the Communist Party Congress in October.

“We will work actively and prudently to achieve our maximum greenhouse gas emissions and climate neutrality. Based on China’s energy record, we will strive to approach the peak in a planned and phased manner – acquiring new technologies first before getting rid of the old ones. We We will use coal more cleanly and efficiently, quickly build a new energy system and actively participate in global climate protection policy.”

Greenpeace demands faster action from China

Environmentalists from Greenpeace in China are demanding that the People’s Republic reach maximum emissions sooner. This would give you more time to become climate-neutral afterwards. But because the economy is growing more slowly than planned, this is also likely to mess up China’s climate plans, says Li Shuo, Greenpeace’s energy policy advisor in China: “The peak in CO2 emissions was calculated on the basis that China’s economy has has grown by around five to eight percent. Many of these conditions no longer exist now, not even in the near future. You have to think carefully about that.”

Due to the strict corona restrictions in the country and recurring lockdowns, among other things, economic growth has slowed down significantly this year. Most experts expect economic growth of around three percent or less this year. “China’s economic growth is slowing down, which is not good news for the climate, and then the international situation is very tense, which could also undermine China’s motivation to take climate protection measures,” environmentalist Li said.

China’s growth is slowed down

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