China promises to "do more" to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of the new climate commitments due to be released to the United Nations by the end of the year, Xie Zhenhua's chief climate change advisor said Tuesday.
China, which emits more greenhouse gases than any other country in the world, "will provide plans to do more by 2050," Xie said in an online interview with former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
"China will definitely set a very ambitious emission reduction target," said Xie, who led the Chinese delegation during the world climate negotiations in 2017-2018.
Chinese authorities are currently finalizing a new five-year plan that will set the immediate goals for the transition from coal. They are also considering climate goals for 2050, including a deadline for becoming carbon neutral, the Reuters agency said.
As part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, countries are encouraged to step up their commitments to fight climate change. According to current commitments, China's total greenhouse gas emissions are expected to peak 'around 2030', but the EU has asked Beijing to postpone that date to 2025.
China has not disclosed details of its 2021-2025 climate goals. Activists, however, expressed concerns that Beijing might withdraw from its commitments. Chinese authorities are now approving more coal-fired power plant projects to revive an economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and tensions in trade relations with the US.
Xie stressed that China's coal consumption, which is contributing to global warming and air pollution, stabilized in 2013 and is unlikely to continue to grow. In its five-year plan, he assured China will set out firm measures to reduce coal consumption and control the production of electricity from coal.