Oct 20, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Sizing up China's 2060 plan

Illustration of a red steaming medical thermometer over the stars of the Chinese flag
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's vow to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 is starting to produce some helpful analyses of how the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter might actually get there.

Why it matters: The plan seems to be achievable, in theory, but the numbers around the needed expansion of carbon-free power, industrial fuels and vehicles are pretty wild.

How it works: Check out this Carbon Brief post by Lauri Myllyvirta of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Here's part of his breakdown of a Tsinghua University analysis making the rounds...

  • "[I]t means growing China’s solar power capacity about 10-fold and wind and nuclear power capacity seven-fold by 2050. At that point, China would have more than four times as much solar power capacity and three times as much wind power capacity as the entire world has today, while nuclear power capacity would reach 80% of the current global total.
  • "However, what is striking about the scenarios is that the actual increase in rates of clean energy uptake are quite modest, given the scale that the industry has already reached in China."
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