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The Chinese Carbon-Neutral Goal: Challenges and Prospects
On 22 September 2020, within the backdrop of the COVID-19 global pandemic, China announced its climate goal for peak carbon emissions before 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality before 2060. This carbon-neutral goal is generally considered to cover all anthropogenic greenhouse gases. The planning effort is now in full swing in China, but the pathway to decarbonization is unclear. The needed transition towards non-fossil fuel energy and its impact on China and the world may be more profound than its reform and development over the past 40 years, but the challenges are enormous. Analysis of four representative scenarios shows significant differences in achieving the carbon-neutral goal, particularly the contribution of non-fossil fuel energy sources. The high target values for nuclear, wind, and bioenergy have approached their corresponding resource limitations, with solar energy being the exception, suggesting solar's critical role. We also found that the near-term policies that allow for a gradual transition, followed by more drastic changes after 2030, can eventually reach the carbon-neutral goal and lead to less of a reduction in cumulative emissions, thus inconsistent with the IPCC 1.5°C scenario. The challenges and prospects are discussed in the historical context of China's socio-economic reform, globalization, international collaboration, and development.
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Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
2022年08期
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