Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York via video-link, Chinese premier Xi Jinping said that China is aiming to "hit peak emissions before 2030 and for carbon neutrality by 2060"
The announcement is obviously being regarded as a significant step in the fight against climate change. China is the world's biggest source of carbon dioxide and is responsible for around 28% of global emissions.
With global climate negotiations stalled and this year's conference of the parties (COP26) postponed until 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, there had been little expectation of progress on the issue at the UN General Assembly.
China's president also called on all countries to achieve a green recovery for the world economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Xi went on to say: "We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060."
Until now China has said it would peak its emissions by 2030 at the latest, but it has avoided committing to a long-term goal. Emissions from China continued to rise in 2018 and 2019 even as much of the world began to shift away from fossil fuels.
This is yet another example of Xi's consistent manipulation of the climate agenda for Geopolitical gain.
There are many questions about the announcement that remain unanswered, including what is meant exactly by carbon neutrality and what actions the country will take to get there however, observers agreed that the announcement from China was a significant step, not least because of the country's role in financing fossil fuel development around the world.
About Iain Fraser
Geopolitical Journalist & Risk Analyst based in Málaga City, Spain. Currently interim CIO at Argus News Group and Consultant Editor at GEOPoliticalMatters.com as well as being an authority contributor to various websites and magazines across the Defence, Cybercrime & European Political sectors. More at https://iainfraserjournalist.blogspot.com or on LinkedIn