As world leaders gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26), China on Thursday announced it has no new significant goals to reduce climate-changing emissions, despite being the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
“It’s not surprising, but it is disappointing that there wasn’t anything new” in terms of goals, said Joanna Lewis, an expert on China, climate and energy at Georgetown University, The Associated Press reported.
In the past, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who is not expected to attend the summit, has said China aims to reduce peak emissions of carbon dioxide “before 2030” and to reach “carbon neutrality” before 2060.
Thursday’s announcement merely repeats those goals.
Lewis said the documents China released give details only about meeting previously set goals.
“The document gives no answers on the major open questions about the country’s emissions,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, the AP reported. “At what level will emissions peak and how fast should they fall after the peak?”
The document called climate change a “grim challenge facing all mankind” and said China “is also among countries most severely affected by climate change.”
China, which depends heavily on coal for electricity, is building new coal-fired power plants rapidly.
“New coal power and steel projects announced in China in the first half of 2021 alone will emit CO2 equal to Netherlands’ total emissions,” according to an August report from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Helsinki and the U.S. group Global Energy Monitor.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.