BEIJING, 23 September 2020 – In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged that China will peak its CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Li Yan, Greenpeace’s China Chief Representative says:

“This is a very positive signal during a challenging year for the environment and global cooperation. This year we have seen the devastating consequences of flooding across southern China, as well as typhoons and record-setting heat waves. Moving the peaking timetable earlier is a much-needed response to the climate emergency we’re facing. If China, long held up as the world’s biggest emitter, can commit to carbon neutrality, justifications for delaying climate action melt away.

How China’s commitment plays out on the ground is key. Will we see greater investment in low-carbon industries as part of COVID-19 economic recovery? How soon can China leave coal behind, and can the country’s renewables industry maintain its momentum? These are the follow-up questions that we need to ask. Meeting these goals requires a low-carbon transition across the entire economy, including in transport, manufacturing, agriculture and consumption, not only in the energy sector.”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International says:

“China’s commitment to peak emissions before 2030 and go carbon neutral before 2060 sends a strong signal that the reality of the climate crisis and the need for multilateral cooperation has not been lost but is central. In the face of fires, floods and droughts around the world, it is crucial that these ‘signals’ quickly turn into action. 

One could hear the tectonic shift below our feet as both China and the EU are moving forward in Paris Agreement implementation, further isolating the Trump Administration. However, actions speak louder than words, and the EU needs to answer China’s move by committing now to a 65 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.  

Xi’s announcement demonstrates how momentum for global climate action can be revived. China is moving ahead on climate regardless of the US. There are two key questions next: how will China ensure that its actions match its commitments? And second, will Washington join in?”

Erin Newport, Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia: [email protected]

Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)