China’s environmental crisis, a result of decades of rapid industrialization and other factors, is threatening not only the health and livelihoods but also the global fight against climate changes. China is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and has been notoriously polluted. Additional environmental problems have been created by China’s carbon-intensive industry, such as soil contamination and water scarcity. China will also face the consequences of climate change over the next decades, including flooding, droughts, and other severe consequences.
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Beijing responded by implementing policies to reduce emissions and stem further degradation. Beijing signed the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2060. Experts say it won’t be easy to follow through, as the government struggles for economic growth, ease public discontent, or overcome tensions with America, the second-largest emitter.
How high are China’s greenhouse gas emissions?
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China’s economic boom has led to a significant increase in its national gross domestic product (GDP). This has been more than ten years. China has been emitting more greenhouse gases in the last ten years than any other country, including carbon dioxide and methane. Climate Watch reports that China was the top emitter in 2005. (Emissions per capita in America are still more than twice as high as those in China.
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China’s energy consumption is almost two-thirds fueled by coal. China is the world’s largest coal producer, with about 1.2 billion tonnes. Half of the world’s coal consumption is global. The government had banned the construction new coal-fired power stations in 2016. This caused a drop in coal use. However, after the ban expired in 2018, new plants began to be built again. China will be a major market in 2020. Built over three times more [PDF]Global Energy Monitor and Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air report that there is more new coal-power capacity worldwide than the rest.
China’s incredible pace of urbanization has also contributed. Urbanization raises energy requirements to power new manufacturing centers and industrial centers. These centers rely on high-energy-consuming products like cement and steel. The increase in cars on roads is another factor: In 2018, China owned a staggering 57 million cars. 240 Million VehiclesThis is an increase of approximately 27 million from 2004.
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China is the world’s largest financier of fossil fuel infrastructure. China has built hundreds of coal-fired power plant in various countries through its huge Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). More than 60% of the BRI-specific energy financing went toward nonrenewable resources. The greenhouse gas emissions of more than a dozen BRI countries have increased dramatically. Researchers have found that BRI could raise the global average temperature by as much as 5% in 2019. Increase by 2.7CIt is significantly higher that the Paris Agreements goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C.
How will climate change affect China?
China will be suffering from the effects of climate changes over the next few years, just like the rest. China’s average temperature has increased and so have its sea levels. risen fasterAccording to a 2020 report by China’s National Climate Center, it is higher than the global average.
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If the global averagetemperature keeps rising, some of China’s coast cities, like Shanghai, could be submerged. China is home to an estimated 43 million people. Could be underwaterIf the global average temperature increases by 2C by the end of this century, it will be the end december.
Experts predict that China will see more extreme weather events like heavy rains. Each year, natural disasters in China kill hundreds of people and decimate millions of acres of crops. As temperatures rise, Chinas glaciersThe rate at which the earth melts will continue to increase at an alarming pace, which could lead to more catastrophic floods. Extreme heat events, droughts, and other extreme conditions will become more common.
What is China doing in order to reduce its emissions?
President Xi Jinping has acknowledged climate change as a top concern in his administration. Beijing has also made a statement. Variety of pledgesTo address it. These include:
- To achieve carbon neutrality by 2060
- To reach peak carbon dioxide emissions prior to 2030
- Renewable energy sources will account for 25% of the total energy consumption by 2030.
- Reduce carbon intensity (or the amount of carbon emitted by each unit of GDP) by more than 65 per cent by 2030
- Install enough solar and wind power generators so that they can combine a combined capacity to produce 1.2 billion kilowatts in 2030.
- By 2030, we aim to increase forest coverage by six billion cubic metres.
Experts disagree and say that many of these targets are too ambitious. Do not agree with each otheror in compliance with the Paris Agreement. To be in line with Paris accords, China would have to reach its peak emissions by 2025.
China’s efforts to transition from coal to renewable energy are crucial. China has already made some progress. China’s energy mix was almost 15 percent in 2019, compared to 7 per cent a decade ago. China has been using hydropower for many years. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of these technologies and is increasing its use of solar panels and wind power generators. It is also increasing its use of hydropower. nuclear power capacityThere are seventeen reactors in construction as of mid-2021. Beijing and certain provinces encourage electric vehicle use. 2020 1.37 millionChina saw a nearly 11 percent increase in the number of so-called “new energy vehicles” (plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles) last year. Experts point out, however, that the vast majority electricity used to power these vehicles is generated from fossil fuels.
China, along with several other countries in the European Union, is looking to establish a national emissions trading system. This would require polluters to pay for any environmental harm they cause and encourage them to reduce their emission. It would initially be focused on Coal- and gas-fired power stations. The rollout of the scheme has been delayed since its announcement in 2017. Many details are still unclear.
Even if China achieves its domestic goals through BRI, it could make it more difficult for the planet to curb climate changes, says Judith Shapiro, coauthor at American Universities. China Goes green: Coercive Environmentalism on a Troubled Planet. Beijing has tried to make BRI more sustainable by announcing environmental guidelines, but these have been voluntary.
How has China cooperated in climate change with the rest of the globe?
China has only recently begun to actively participate in global responses to climate change. China has been resisting UN-required commitments for decades. Chinese diplomats argued against China’s need to sacrifice economic development in order to protect the environment. Instead, developed countries such as the United States should shoulder more of the responsibility because they are able to grow their economy without limitations.
Climate change and environmental destruction became a top priority for China’s government. As a result, it began participating more in global climate negotiations and eventually became a leading voice on climate change. China declared its participation in Paris Agreement in 2016. It has increased its commitments over the years.
China is open to working with other nations. Japan and South Korea have held annual meetings with their Chinese counterparts. Both countries have expressed concern about the effects of acid rain and smog on their national borders. The European Union agreed support for China’s implementation its emissions trading scheme. India, third-largest emitter in the world, has signed climate agreements. However, tensions rose in 202021, raising doubts about future cooperation.
What has China and the United States done together?
Despite deep-rooted economic and political tensions, the rivals have collaborated in the past and experts see future opportunities for cooperation. The Obama administration has brought the countries together. Collaboration expandedScientists, experts, and companies from both China & America are among the many. They announced joint commitments to reduce emissions in 2014.
Trump’s confrontational stance towards Beijing and questioning the science behind climate change led to a significant reduction in that cooperation.
President Joe Biden has stated that engagement with China is essential. He has made commitments to reduce U.S. carbon emissions and restore American leadership on climate change. John Kerry, Biden’s climate envoy, visited Shanghai in April 2021. The two countries reached an agreement to make a joint statement on climate change. more ambitious pledgesUnder the Paris agreement. Xi attended a U.S.-hosted summit on climate change a few days later. In response to China’s dominance, the Biden administration has also highlighted competition with Beijing.
What other environmental challenges is China facing?
Additional harm can be done to the environment by carbon-intensive industries. Climate change can also exacerbate environmental problems, such as water scarcity and desertification.
Air pollution. Public awareness has increased about China’s poor air quality over the past decade, especially after Beijing experienced a prolonged bout with smog in 2013. This was so severe that many citizens called it an airpocalypse. This prompted government action. Later in 2013, a plan was published that ordered cities to lower PM2.5 levels and directed local governments. Adopt tougher controlson coal use and pollution. China has seen a significant decrease in air pollution. However, many areas continue to suffer from extreme pollution and hundreds of cities in the north still have high levels of PM2.5.
Water insecurity. China is home only 7 percent of the world’s freshwater sources, and around 20 percent of its population. Overuse has led. Severe shortages, and industry has polluted water supplies. The ecosystems have also been affected by hydropower dams built along major rivers. The government published a 2015 plan to prevent water pollution, which included regulating polluting industries. The quality of surface watersbodies, such as rivers, streams, and lakesSince then, the quality of life has improved.. Groundwater continues to fall short of targets with more than 80 per cent being classified as very or extremely bad.
Desertification. More than a quarter of China’s arable lands are located in this country becoming desertWater crisis, negligent farming practices and overgrazing are some of the reasons. The government responded by planting billions more trees, as well as other measures to increase the amount of vegetation. On average, desertified land is shrinking by 5%. Nearly one thousand square milesAccording to government figures, each year.
Pollution of the soil. In 2014, the government estimated that approximately One-fifth arable landcontamination. This has implications for China’s food security: 12,000,000 tonnesHeavy metals pollute 664 million tonnes of grain each year. Not chemical factories or other industrial sites, but trash and electronic waste is the main culprit. rare-earth-metal miningOveruse of pesticides and contaminated waters are all contributing factors. China’s first comprehensive law to stop soil pollution was implemented in 2019. It required polluters to either limit their production or pay for the contamination. Two years later China banned all imports from other countries.
Nuclear wasteChina has not experienced a nuclear accident during its three decades of operating nuclear power stations. However, some experts disagree. Are you concerned? [PDF]As the country increases its construction and the age of its plants, the risk of an accident will increase.
How does pollution affect Chinas population?
China’s large population is at risk from pollution of their air, water and soil. It has been linked both to chronic and acute diseases and preventable deaths.
Air pollution contributes to approximately 1.1 million premature deathsChina annually. Since the 1980s, epidemiological studies have shown that poor air quality in northern Chinese cities is a major cause of death. Health complications [PDF]These include respiratory, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and other diseases. An estimated Sixty thousand peopleEvery year, thousands die in China from water-related illnesses.
Environmental issues also cost the economy billions each year. Recent estimates have put the toll at as high as 10 percent of GDP. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment The cost of pollution was calculatedTo be approximately 1.5 trillion RMB ($227billion), or 3.5 percent of the GDP in 2010. (The ministry does not release such figures regularly.
Is this a threat or opportunity for the Chinese Communist Party to survive?
In his book, CFRs Huang argues Toxic Politics – China’s Environmental Health Crisis & Its Challenge to The Chinese State China’s future political stability and economic growth will be hindered by pollution and environmental degradation. He writes that if the governments fail to effectively address pollution, citizens could question the legitimacy and system of China’s leaders.
As environmental degradation has become more widely known over the past two decades, so has public dissatisfaction. The number of petitions and protests has also increased. There have been hundreds of protests organized by citizens in cities like Guangdong Kunming Shanghai Wuhan. 2013 saw a record number of abrupt environmental incidentsProtests were up 31% to 712 in 2015, an increase of 31% over the previous year. The number of citizen petitions on environmental issues rose from 1.05 million in 2011 up to 1.77 millions in 2015.
The government has been forced to face problems by environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). These groups, which are often based abroad but have thousands of members, have advocated for transparency and investigated corruption allegations. They also lead grassroots campaigns. They have had Some successA 2015 law made it easier for polluters to sue.
However, the Chinese Communist Party is worried that activism could be used to catalyze democratic social changes. This has limited the efforts of grassroots movements, activists, and organizations. International NGOs cannot work in China because of a 2016 law. The government has shown more resolve under Xi. Crackdown on public dissent, including arresting activists censoring documentariesCommentary on social media.
Experts warn that China’s inability to reduce pollution could lead to a decline in its international standing. Huang writes that China will not be able to regain its global prominence if its citizens continue to breathe polluted and drink toxic water.