More survey respondents positive nation will achieve carbon reduction target
The economic situation in China in the post-COVID-19 era has accelerated the country's energy transition and the process to peak carbon dioxide emissions, a survey of climate and energy experts concluded.
It's the second year the survey has been carried out as part of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air's annual China Climate Transition Outlook report, which aims to measure experts' views on whether China is on track with its climate commitments.
Jointly conducted by the Helsinki-headquartered center and the International Society for Energy Transition Studies from Australia, the survey this year included 89 experts representing diverse specializations in the field of climate and energy, roughly tripling the number in the last survey. The two surveys posed the same questions.
Experts are more optimistic about China's potential in reducing carbon emissions as the country works to recover its economy hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report.
About 21 percent of the experts surveyed this year believe China will see its carbon dioxide emissions peak before 2025, compared with 15 percent in the survey last year.
It also noted a decrease from last year's 69 percent to this year's 56 percent in the proportion of experts who expect to see a rise of more than 15 percent in China's carbon dioxide emissions from the 2020 level before the emissions peak.
China aims to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and realize carbon neutrality before 2060.
Most of the experts surveyed this year believe that China is on track to peak emissions as scheduled, but limiting emissions increases before the peak remains a significant challenge, the report said.
Over half of the experts were confident that China would see its consumption peak in primary energy — natural, unconverted energy forms such as coal, natural gas and hydropower — before 2030.
"Achieving carbon neutrality in a fast-growing economy like China is not an easy task," said Yang Muyi from the International Society for Energy Transition Studies.
To bring carbon neutrality into reality, China needs to not only rebuild its national economy with focuses on boosting technologies for developing clean energy and enhancing energy efficiency, but also forge ahead with the transition in the fossil fuel sector in a cautious manner, he said.
He stressed that China has to strike a balance between promoting rapid decarbonization and addressing a host of issues of public concern, including energy access and reliable supply.
Qiu Chengcheng, China analyst with the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, stressed the challenges China is confronted with to peak its carbon dioxide emissions amid global economic and energy uncertainties.
"Despite seeing that more experts are optimistic that China will peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030, we must be aware that the country faces challenges to limit peak emissions," she said.
She said China urgently needs to enhance investment and ramp up regulatory measures as it strives to lead the construction of a new development model of green growth.