Although the U.S.-China climate agreement announced earlier this week is “a very serious international commitment between the two heavy hitters,” in the words of a Greenpeace East Asia researcher, experts are asking whether China’s commitments go far enough and how they’ll be met.
The word that the U.S. would cut its GHG emissions 26-28% by 2025, and that China would cap its emissions by 2030, was breaking news Monday night and Tuesday. And yet, “based on China’s current coal consumption numbers, they can do much more,” Greenpeace’s Li Shuo told the Times. “This should be the floor on which they work, rather than a ceiling.”
“Many scientists have said 2030 may be too long to wait for China’s greenhouse gas emissions to stop growing, if the world is to keep the average global temperature from rising more than 3.6° Fahrenheit (2° Celsius) above the preindustrial average,” Wong writes. “Some experts said China should try to halt the growth of its emissions much sooner than it has pledged, by 2025 rather than 2030.”
He adds that “foreign scientists and policy-makers are also trying to judge whether [China’s] 2030 pledge represents a genuine campaign by the Chinese government to fight climate change, or just a business-as-usual date when emissions would probably have levelled off anyway.”