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China Begins Walking Back Promises to Reduce Pollution in the 2030s

December 15, 2021

By Paul Homewood



Communist China frequently placates climate activists by promising to cut pollution in the 2030s and strive for “carbon neutrality” by 2060.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Monday quoted senior Chinese officials already walking back those promises, recasting them as vague aspirations that might have to be put on hold until Beijing achieves its industrial goals.

The climate change movement has always been remarkably credulous when it comes to China. At the big COP26 “climate summit” in Scotland in October, China actually “pledged” to increase its carbon pollution over the coming decade – but the response was mostly muted grumbling from activists who demand immense short-term sacrifices from the Western world.

At the conclusion of the Glasgow summit, the Biden administration released a joint statement on reducing carbon emissions with Beijing, hailed by climate envoy John Kerry as a “roadmap for our future collaboration.”

Two months later, the Chinese are backing away from that road map, as the SCMP reported:

Addressing a forum in Beijing on Saturday, former finance minister Lou Jiwei said that while China had said it would “strive to” reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, there was a difference between this and “ensuring [those targets would be achieved]”.

“We are a developing country. We should bear common but differentiated responsibilities that are different from developed countries,” Lou told the gathering organised by the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.

Han Wenxiu, from the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, was similarly cautious, saying the two targets were complex and long-term tasks that required full consideration of the country’s energy and industrial structure.

“[The carbon targets] should not affect the country’s overall economic and social development,” Han said.

The day before those comments were made, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping and his Politburo issued a statement that said reaching carbon neutrality will require “unwavering efforts,” but success “can’t be achieved in just one battle.”

The same statement made it clear that China will not stop burning coal to generate electricity. The Chinese are currently pouring record amounts of coal into record numbers of power plants to meet the soaring energy needs of their industrial sector. As several Chinese analysts explained to the SCMP, critical power shortages in the latter half of 2021 frightened communist leaders away from any thoughts they might have been entertaining about eliminating coal.

“Wind and solar power account for about 9 percent of China’s electricity generation. The dominant role of coal in China’s power and energy structure cannot be changed in a short time,” Lin Boqiang of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University explained.

Ma Jun of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing said the statement by Xi and the Politburo on Friday was a sign that “replacements have not been building up and we cannot phase out fossil fuels in a quick way.”


The SCMP’s quotes from Chinese officials make it plain that China’s willingness to compromise its industrial power in the name of climate change is questionable, there is no real plan in Beijing to hit “peak carbon” in 2030 or “zero-carbon” in 2060, and – even if Communist Party leaders do become interested in keeping the promises they made to the Biden administration – the sheer inertia of all that coal mining and coal plant construction would be hard to overcome, even for iron-fisted tyrants. After all, China still plans to build dozens more coal-fired plants next year.

The only thing that surprises me is that anybody should be surprised by this latest backtracking!

  1. David Calder permalink
    December 15, 2021 10:26 am

    Co2 is NOT pollution Grrrrrrr

    • Philip Mulholland permalink
      December 15, 2021 10:50 am

      When the emission of the dangerously flammable (yes it is) gas oxygen becomes classed as the global atmospheric pollution that is so obviously is (just ask the anaerobic bacteria what they thought about the great oxygenation crisis) then maybe, just maybe carbon dioxide gas can also be classed as an atmospheric pollutant.
      Til’ then all of us aerobic carbon based life forms should tel the cyborg aliens to take a hike.

      • December 15, 2021 11:47 am

        CO2 was a “pollutant” in the 2006 volcanic eruption at Lake Nyos in Cameroon which relased such concentrated gas that nearly 2000 people and 3000 cattle were suffocated.
        Otherwise, at realistic atmospheric tensions, it is a climatic “greener”, not a pollutant, I.e., beneficial.
        Even a doubling of its current 400ppm is predicted to impact the global temperature by less than 1degree Cent.

        Whatever may worry the “greenies” , they can put that in their pipes and smoke it, confident that any smoke pollution is not CO2 but organic poisons!

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        December 15, 2021 1:42 pm

        ‘Lake Nyos’ should be written in big letters on the wall in front of all those who think burying CO2 underground is the answer.
        One day there will be an escape and unless we are exceptionally lucky there will be deaths.

      • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
        December 15, 2021 2:00 pm

        Smack on Mike!

      • December 15, 2021 4:48 pm

        The EU is keen on a ‘carbon border tax’ which sounds like yet another bureaucrat’s job creation scheme.

  2. tomo permalink
    December 15, 2021 10:27 am

    While simultaneously cultivating brown-nosing Greens like Lord Stern…

  3. December 15, 2021 10:33 am

    Who would have guessed that the CCP lied consistently in order to pursue their own industrial goals? Obviously not the Watermelons pumping out all their climate crisis hysteria!

  4. December 15, 2021 10:43 am

    Unlike our dopes, China has not succumbed to hysterical group think on movers of climate.

    • dave permalink
      December 15, 2021 11:24 am

      “The climate change movement has always been remarkably credulous when it comes to China.”

      I think I would put it, “The climate change movement has always been remarkably consistent in lying when it comes to China – with the consequence that the sheeple have no idea what is going on.”

      Anyone who has studied Chinese civilization knows that it functions without a certain concept, known elsewhere as the Brotherhood of All Men.

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      December 15, 2021 3:48 pm

      How to Clean up Pollution and Save Planet Earth -Belldune Coal Fired Power Station . .

      This power generating station was the first in Canada to install scrubbers to help reduce Sulphur dioxide emissions. It has an electrostatic precipitator that removes over 99% of particles in the flue gases.

      It has special burners to limit Nitrogen Oxide emissions. An upgrade began in July 2004 which saw a Titan ProAsh facility that recaptures 75% of the fly ash produced by the generating station.

      Water from the Smoke Stack Scrubbers is recycled. This eliminates the use of a ‘Tailings Pond’. The effluent removed from the water has resulted in the production of a Synthetic Gypsum Byproduct (Drywall) which is then sold, all over North America.

      Belldune Coal Fried Power Generating Station – A Poster Child for Clean Energy!!

      P 6 . . .

      That is mostly steam coming out the chimney . . . Like what we see at all Natural Gas Plants!!

      Environmentalists are screaming to have this plant shut down . . . not because it is clean . . .

      Because it burns coal . . . Another Fossil Fuel . . . Clean Energy . . . somehow bad??

      Please . . . Let’s find some common sense and bring it home to Environmentalism . . .

      Until The ‘Green agenda’ to Kill fossil fuels at all costs is fully outed for what it is . . . A real clean up will NEVER happen.

      Spend Money on removing the By-Products from burning Fossil Fuels . . . NOT replacing them with Wind or Solar or EV’s that ADD harm Not reduce harm . . .

      My thoughts . . .

  5. Gamecock permalink
    December 15, 2021 12:05 pm

    I am shocked that China would say it. Yeah, everybody knows they aren’t going to do anything, but it’s not like them to actually say so.

  6. Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
    December 15, 2021 12:33 pm

    I think that some of the descriptions of a country’s economic status need changing:
    EVERY country is a DEVELOPING country including the UK (providing somebody can knock some sense into the JOHNSONS!). CHINA is one of the highest developed contries in the world, they have weapons that even the USA does not yet have.
    Is this so hard for our government to understand??

    • dave permalink
      December 15, 2021 1:53 pm

      “…hard for our government to understand??”

      One has to realize that, for all their possibly sincere belief in ‘diversity’, au fond the aged white rulers of our bit of the world are as racialist as it is possible to be. Non-whites cannot possibly be doing anything startling or impressive – such as transforming the global balance of power!

      At the moment, there is an intense campaign underway, telling us to ignore the findings of South Africa doctors that the Omicron variant is benign, because, after all, South Africa is a “backward” place with stupid people. Such stupendous arrogance!

      • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
        December 15, 2021 2:03 pm

        Your comments are themselves racist as well as wrong and have nothing to do with China and energy.

      • December 22, 2021 4:20 am

        Been a moderator here long, Mr Brooks?

  7. Harry Passfield permalink
    December 15, 2021 1:36 pm

    Santa: “What would you like for Christmas, Harry?
    Me: “Santa, can you talk to the oaf who thinks he’s our PM and get him to change the CCA such that We would FOLLOW China’s World-leading plans to cut emissions, rather than claiming that his tiny country can lead the World in changing the weather! Please. I promise to be a good boy. Honest.”

  8. Ray Sanders permalink
    December 15, 2021 2:08 pm

    In December 2020 Chang’e 5 launched to the moon, with one part going into lunar orbit a separate module descended and soft landed on the lunar surface. After taking samples it relaunched into orbit, docked with its command module and transferred the lunar samples to the orbiter. The orbiter than blasted back to Earth and subsequently safely landed.
    Only the US has previously managed such a sophisticated operation as the Russian lunar return systems were much cruder.
    So what exactly is the definition of a “Developing Nation”?

    • Penda100 permalink
      December 15, 2021 2:36 pm

      That’s easy Ray. “A developing nation is one which while having a GDP lower than the G7 average, needs to continue using fossil fuels to generate electricity and to meet other energy needs and, as a developing nation, cannot be criticised for failing to commit economic suicide”.

      • devonblueboy permalink
        December 15, 2021 2:40 pm

        A truly excellent definition 🤣🤣

  9. Jack Broughton permalink
    December 15, 2021 3:48 pm

    We have now had over 30 years of climate-doom with no measurable effect on the real-world. Now the rest of the world has apparently woken up to the fact that Europe is on a course to self-destruct.

    If CO2 had been the danger forecast in 1990, by now all fossil fuel usage would have been controlled by force to protect the rich. AGW remains a hypothetical prediction from low quality mathematical models with nothing to justify it and everything to doubt.

  10. chriskshaw permalink
    December 16, 2021 6:26 pm

    For those of you interested in a bit of masochism, try listening to the CPS crap… worth a good 40 points on the self-flagellation scale if you can power through.

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