Skip to content

China’s Xi Says Climate Targets Can’t Compromise Energy Security

January 26, 2022

By Paul Homewood


I suspect this has more significance than even Bloomberg think:



President Xi Jinping said efforts to achieve China’s climate targets need to work in lockstep with the government’s other objectives, as policy makers seek to balance sometimes conflicting environmental and economic aims.

Xi said the nation’s carbon goals shouldn’t clash with other priorities, which include securing adequate supplies of food, energy and materials “to ensure the normal life of the masses,” according to comments made at a Politburo session reported by the official Xinhua news agency on Tuesday. 
Xi said China needs to make sure it has enough coal, and that oil and gas output grows steadily, in his clearest comments yet that reducing emissions shouldn’t come at the cost of other economic goals. An unprecedented energy crisis in the fall has highlighted concerns that China’s reliance on fossil fuels remains as entrenched as ever.
Xi established China’s carbon targets in 2020, pledging to peak emissions by the end of the decade and deliver a carbon neutral society by 2060. They marked a step change in China’s approach to global warming and sparked a flurry of directives from across government and industry as policy makers and company executives sought to incorporate the president’s vision. 
But in July last year, the Politburo seemed to change tack, urging
an easing of the aggressive measures taken to reduce emissions because they were hampering efforts to stimulate slowing economic growth.
In his latest comments, Xi also called China’s mission to reduce carbon “
urgent and difficult” and said that cutting emissions can’t mean cutting productivity.
Inflation Concerns
The central problem that has confronted China is that its carbon policies have constrained the supply of highly polluting commodities like coal, metals and fertilizers, pushing up prices and making Beijing’s attempts to rein in inflation a lot more difficult. 
To a large degree, Xi’s intervention seems designed to set the tone for policy makers rather than signal any substantive change in direction. The government has already released five-year plans in recent weeks dealing with a swathe of industries, including materials and energy efficiency, which build on last year’s overarching policy directive that will guide China’s economic development through 2025.  
Xi has long stressed the need to strengthen domestic oil and gas production. But his latest, broader, comments once again bring China’s persistent anxieties around the supply of food, energy and materials to the fore. And they highlight how the campaign to reduce emissions has at times come into direct conflict with efforts to check commodities prices, which have surged over the past year in large part because of a shortage of coal and rising power costs.
Coal is the raw material that best embodies China’s environmental and economic balancing act. It provides more than half of the nation’s energy and most of its electricity. It’s also the dirtiest fossil fuel and the biggest contributor to the country’s emissions. 
Curbing coal use is the best way for China to meet its commitments to limit the rise in global temperatures. But last year it was forced to ramp up production of the fuel to record levels to stave off the worst effects of the power crisis.
Xi is clearly re-emphasizing a safety-first approach to energy generation, which will support the development of renewable power — but backed-up by coal, said Leo Wang, an analyst with BloombergNEF.
Steel Curbs
Another key commodity is steel, which accounts for about 15% of the nation’s carbon. There, China was successful in cutting outright production last year in order to curb emissions. But whether it can keep that cap in place is uncertain, given the need to stimulate the economy with renewed infrastructure spending.
BNEF for one expects a new approach this year, “with less emphasis on net capacity reduction as China looks to adopt greener steelmaking technologies,” according to a report on Tuesday.
Also of interest is the fact that China’s latest five-year plan for energy efficiency failed to reiterate its target of reducing the economy’s carbon intensity by 18%, which could suggest less emphasis on that measurement even as the nation advances its broader climate goals.

It is not clear whether Xi was genuine in his desire originally to reduce emissions, or whether he was playing the West on a piece of string.

But as I have repeatedly commented, the CCP needs to keep growing China’s economy to survive. If their leader stands in the way, he is dead meat.

Sooner or later then reality was going to catch up. The refusal of China to phase out coal at COP26 was a strong sign of the way the CCP was going, that economic realists were winning the battle with environmentalists. I suspect that Xi has seen the writing on the wall and is siding with the only winners in this battle.

Nobody would argue that China does not want to tackle genuine environmental problems, such as air pollution. Nor that they won’t embrace energy efficient technology.

But it must now be clear that carbon dioxide is well down their list of concerns.

  1. January 26, 2022 7:33 pm

    So he agreed with Trump, which will send the left apoplectic. Good!

  2. 1saveenergy permalink
    January 26, 2022 7:49 pm

    Wish we had a clear thinking leader … instead of our current toss-pot & her husband Boris.

    • devonblueboy permalink
      January 26, 2022 8:01 pm

      I agree with your sentiments, but are any of the likely replacements likely to have any more brains?

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        January 26, 2022 8:52 pm

        Their brain power is not the problem, they’ve all got enough brains to lie, cheat & line their own pockets.
        The problem is finding honest skilled people with a sense of responsibility … but anyone of that ilk wouldn’t last long before being corrupted into ‘the ways of Westminster’ or being forced out.

        But we get the politicians we keep voting for.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        January 27, 2022 11:30 am

        Sadly knowledge and intelligence are considered to be a drawback for a career in politics.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    January 26, 2022 7:52 pm

    “Xi established China’s carbon targets in 2020, pledging to peak emissions by the end of the decade and deliver a carbon neutral society by 2060.

    “Carbon neutrality is a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. This can be achieved by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal.”

    Balancing all those emissions by removal? China can no more do that than anyone else. There are no technologies capable of removing that much CO2. Lowering emissions below some peak will take no CO2 out of the atmosphere. Another boondoggle.

    • Nick Dekker permalink
      January 26, 2022 9:08 pm

      Never forget that China has taken 800million people out of poverty in the past 25 years and still has a long way to go to get anywhere near our Western standard of living for his country.

      • T Walker permalink
        January 27, 2022 8:39 am

        Yes we should view the reality and not demonise him for that. The way he intends to get there is a different matter. CO2 will not be the half of it.

    • Nick permalink
      January 26, 2022 9:11 pm

      Never forget that China has taken 800million people out of poverty in the past 25 years and still has a long way to go to get anywhere near our Western standard of living for his country.

    • The Informed Consumer permalink
      January 26, 2022 11:21 pm

      A universally overlooked fact is that China is building more nuclear power stations than the rest of the world combined.

      As these come online, coal fired stations will be gradually decommissioned until by 2060 or thereabouts, whilst the west is paying for its childish insistence on renewables, China will be half a century ahead in terms of cheap, ‘clean’ electricity production.

      • T Walker permalink
        January 27, 2022 8:40 am

        Spot on TIC.

  4. charles wardrop permalink
    January 26, 2022 9:10 pm

    Mr Xi is quite right. The foundations decarbonisation are very shaky anyway and unproven, like the CO2 theories 30 years out of date.

    The best plan is masterly inactivity!

    Besides, there is no money for this nonsense, though for the corrupt will always find a way!

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 26, 2022 9:15 pm

    OMG! The man from CCP talks sense!
    So, what’s his game? Maybe, he’s trying to be helpful to Western leaders: if the CCP are for it, they are agin it. Xi knows that if he talks sense about reframing the surge to NZC the West will double down on doing the opposite ie: going for NZC as quickly as possible and not making any margin for keeping strategic energy generation, as he advocates (quite sensibly).
    Xi is playing a cunning game.
    Boris’s Eton brain cannot comprehend the logic of what Xi is saying.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      January 26, 2022 9:21 pm

      Furthermore… I’d like to see a real in-depth security check on Boris’s wife. She is getting involved too much in government policy and she is just too Green to be real. I think someone is pulling her strings.

      • devonblueboy permalink
        January 26, 2022 10:01 pm

        One or more of the young man friends who seem to be inhabiting the corridors of power?

  6. Mad Mike permalink
    January 26, 2022 9:59 pm

    Wasn’t China instrumental in setting up the IPCC in the first place? Was it put in place just to shackle the West economically leaving a free pass for China? If not, that’s how it’s turned out.

  7. January 26, 2022 10:09 pm

    There’s been a flurry of reports in the media these past couple of days about China last year installing a record capacity of offshore wind – Carbon Brief’s Dr Sim Evans gets namechecked.


    Forbes: “China Built More Offshore Wind In 2021 Than Every Other Country Built In 5 Years”

    Edie Newsroom: “China adds record 16GW of offshore wind capacity

    China’s recent clean energy drive has seen the nation leapfrog the UK as the world leader in offshore wind capacity, with research revealing that the nation added more capacity in 2021 than what the world had produced over a five-year period.”

    Strangely, few mention that it was because generous state subsidies were to expire at the end of 2021!

    Electrek: “This is because developers in China are working to bring offshore wind online before feed-in tariffs expire at the end of 2021.

    • bobn permalink
      January 27, 2022 12:28 am

      China is building every conceivable power source as fast as it can and will achieve global economic dominance through energy dominance. They are building windmills nearly as fast as building coalmines and coal power stations. They want, and will have, it all.

      • January 27, 2022 1:06 am

        It surprises me that the otherwise climate sensible Xi wastes everything on the windmills, all of which, on or offshore, are only dud and damaging

      • January 27, 2022 9:33 am

        I can imagine at Chinese prices & labour rates, it was loose change for him, and lulled the west into submission.

      • January 27, 2022 11:09 am

        cajwbroomhill and ilma630

        It’s virtue signalling, and Greens fall for it every time.

        The latest data – for the period ending Sept 2021- shows China’s “Year-on-year growth in power production (TWh) Q3 2021 vs. Q3 2020” that of the 586.9TWh, solar generated 12.6TWh, wind generated 89TWh, and thermal (coal, gas, oil & biomass) generated 460.2TWh

  8. Nicholas Lewis permalink
    January 26, 2022 10:15 pm

    All the West leaders will come round to this way of thinking in the end or risk societal issues that will pale into insignificance about the alleged impact from the climate

    • T Walker permalink
      January 27, 2022 8:48 am

      Their is a large quantity of Kool-aid to recall before we get there. Reality will bite. I hope I am still alive and reading NALOPKT..

  9. bluecat57 permalink
    January 27, 2022 1:19 pm

    You mean a China First policy? Racist.

  10. January 27, 2022 1:29 pm

    It is said thatChinese peolle believe they are vefy wise and accomplished.
    Mr Xi ‘s policy on AGW exemplifies that! Also his viewse on nergy

  11. Brian & Kim Allan permalink
    January 27, 2022 6:46 pm

    “… economic realists were/are winning the battle with environmentalists. I suspect that Xi has seen the writing on the wall and is siding with the only winners in this battle.”

    A sound approach and with this approach China will be the global winner while the rest of us drown in environmental and energy costs!!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: