The UN climate summit, Cop26, has been delayed until November 2021 due to the pandemic, but many participating countries aren’t waiting until next year to quantify their emissions reductions commitments. After the EU pledged to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030, China made an unexpected announcement this week that the country will achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
Announced by President Xi Jinping to the UN general assembly this week, China plans to embrace a “green recovery” from the pandemic and ensure that emissions peak in the next decade. China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter, but this new pledge demonstrates that the country is ready to change its carbon trajectory.
Every participating nation is supposed to come forward with an emissions reduction plan before Cop26 to further cement their commitment to keeping the world below the 2 degrees Celsius of warming agreed to under the Paris agreement in 2015. The US now stands alone as the most prominent country missing from Cop26 preparations.
It remains to be seen what concrete climate action steps will be implemented in China to achieve neutrality by 2060, but this commitment holds the potential for major emissions reductions and put pressure on countries around the globe to hold themselves to similar green standards.