The Rock Standing in the Way of China’s Climate Ambitions: Coal



Chris Buckley | NY Times

Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, has promoted an uplifting vision for growth increasingly freed from greenhouse gas pollution, but turning that plan into action is already proving contentious.

The big issue is coal.

Mr. Xi’s climate-saving ambitions are a pillar of a plan for the country’s post-pandemic ascent that was endorsed by China’s Communist Party-controlled legislature days ago.

The plan is designed to steer the country toward two signature commitments that Mr. Xi made last year. China’s emissions of carbon dioxide would peak before 2030, he said, and the country would reach net carbon neutrality before 2060, meaning it would emit no more of the greenhouse gas than it takes from the atmosphere by methods like engineering or planting forests.

But unusually sharp debate has risen in China over how aggressively it should cut the use of coal, which has fueled its industrial takeoff yet made it the world’s top-polluting nation in recent decades.

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