China "deserves recognition for its climate efforts so far," The New York Times has reported, citing a U.S. climate scientist.
Angel Hsu, a professor of public policy and the environment at the University of North Carolina, made the remarks in an article titled Don't Be So Quick to Doubt China's Climate Change Dedication published Sunday.
Based on her study on China's environmental and climate policy for nearly two decades, she said Beijing has met or has come close to meeting every major energy and environmental target it has set.
"China's ship is still turning," she said, citing data showing China is on a path to exceed its 2030 carbon intensity reduction goals. "China has ratified and adopted its international commitments into law," she added.
Once a critic of China's climate efforts, the scientist said though every country should be responsible to tackle a climate crisis, "we must have a more considered approach when judging China's action before crying foul."
The latest coal production increase in China actually showed the Chinese leadership's attempt to "facilitate a safe and just energy transition," she said, describing the recent directives, if read closely, as a demonstration of China's commitment to mitigate climate change.
"That China's leadership is being forthright about its energy shortage and policy response is an important sign of transparency and progress," she said.
Though it's challenging for China to realize its pledges to peak emission before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, but "challenging" is not the same as "impossible," she said.
Noting that China has scaled down coal from more than 70 percent of its total energy consumption in 2009 to around 57 percent in 2020, she said, "It's important to give the ship time to turn."