China’s surprise pledge to slash its carbon footprint to zero by 2060 was met with cautious applause, but fresh spending on coal to rev up a virus-hit economy threatens to nullify its audacious bid to lead the world into a low carbon future.
The fossil fuel has powered China’s economic surge over the last thirty years, and the nation burns about half the coal used globally each year.
Between 2000 and 2018, its annual carbon emissions nearly tripled, and it now accounts for nearly a third of the world’s total greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
Despite pledges to wean the economy off coal with the world’s most ambitious investment in renewables, China’s coal consumption climbed back in June this year to near the peak levels seen in 2013.
That was in part due to a