Spotlight Activity: China’s Nationally Determined Contribution
On June 30, 2015, Su Wei, the Director General of Climate Change Department of Chinese National Development and Reform Commission, submitted China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to UNFCCC secretariat Christiana Figueres. This submission showed many achievements on carbon emission reduction by 2014 including a decrease in carbon emission by 38% per GDP since 2005 and an increase in forest coverage by 21.6 million hectares. It further notes four Enhanced Actions and fifteen policy changes intended to support China’s efforts.
The four Enhanced Actions for Climate Change define the Nationally Determined Contribution that China proposes to achieve by 2030 as part of its Paris Agreement pledge. It states that China will achieve peak carbon dioxide emission around 2030, lower per unit GDP by 60%-65% from 2005, increase non-fossil fuel usage to 20% of total energy share and increase forest stock volume by 4.5 billion cubic meters from 2005. China seems to be on track towards achieving these goals, according to Climate Action Tracker
China also has proposed fifteen political actions to support its NDC goals. These include the implantations of new strategies and policies at the national and provincial levels, the building of an energy sufficient system, the reduction of emission in transportation and other policies changes that relates to adapting an overall low-carbon lifestyle.
Status: Standing Still
China has made ambitious goals and strong commitment towards the Paris Agreement. The only concern is whether it’s appropriate to use 2005 as a baseline year. Between the years 2003 and 2007, the carbon emissions of China spiked. Therefore, using 2005 as a baseline could make it seem that China’s reduction in emissions is larger than it was. It calls into question whether e amount of China’s carbon emissions in 2030 is low enough to adequately contribute to the prevention of a 2-degree Celsius temperature increase.
It’s easier to make initial reductions in emissions by targeting direct reductions in Chinese manufacturing processes: mass material and energy input. However to go beyond this initial reduction requires technological innovation and strategies that China has yet to specify.
Another criticism of China’s National Determined Contribution is that China emphasizes the reduction of carbon dioxide emission yet ignored the other greenhouse gases possibilities.
Please send the following message to the Minister of Environment whose contact information is below:
Dear Minister of Environment of China:
Thank you for supporting the Paris Agreement through the well drafted National Determined Contribution plan. The goals and the policy supports written for the submission are ambitious and in the right direction. In order to be more on track of the Paris Agreement, we are here to encourage you to develop more specific policies at the provincial level, to be more concrete in how technology will play a role in reducing emissions, and develop plans for the reduction of other greenhouse gases, in addition to CO2. We also urge you to review the scientific basis for using 2005 as a baseline year, as it tends to distort the actual magnitude of China’s Paris Agreement emission reduction pledge.
Director General of Department of Climate Change
National Development and Reform Commission
No. 38, Yue Tan Nan Jie, Beijing, 100824, China