Joe Biden wants a more ambitious commitment from Beijing. Xi is ready to work with Washington. China is accused of still building coal-fired power plants. A trade war could break over electric cars and renewable energy technology.
Washington (AsiaNews) – China is committed to carbon neutrality by 2060, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the virtual climate summit organised by US President Joe Biden, which saw the participation of 40 heads of state or government.
The Chinese leader stressed that his country is ready to cooperate with the international community and the United States to counter climate change.
The United States wants however a more ambitious commitment from China. Biden is pressing Beijing to bring forward the date for its peak emissions to 2025. Xi set the target at 2030.
China accounts for 28 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Xi pledged to reduce China’s carbon intensity by more than 65 per cent by 2030, from 2005 levels.
In the next nine years, Beijing wants to increase the share of alternative energy sources to 25 per cent: up from its previous target of 20 per cent.
Washington and environmental groups are also urging China to stop building new coal-fired power plants at home and abroad. They are asking Beijing to invest more abroad in renewable energy plants.
According to experts, China's targets for the coming years are too low to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. For example, the US plans to cut 50 per cent of total harmful emissions by 2030.
Some observers point out that the energy transition could open a new front in the trade row between Washington and Beijing.
The Chinese are leaders in electric cars and renewable energy technology, but in the event of a crisis, the US could take anti-dumping measures to protect its own manufacturers from Chinese competitors.