How China Could Be Carbon Neutral by Mid-Century

How China Could Be Carbon Neutral by Mid-Century

Our special report examines the role of renewables, nuclear power and carbon capture in reaching this ambitious goal.

Nature, 2020

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Most people are aware that Earth suffers from a warming climate, which is mainly caused by releasing too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s already past high time to take action and China takes climate change very seriously. China intends to be carbon neutral by mid-century and several research groups have developed potentially feasible proposals. If you’re curious about how China plans to reach its ambitious goal, read this article by Smriti Mallapaty, a senior science reporter for Nature.


China intends to be carbon neutral by mid-century.

China has promised to become carbon neutral before 2060. Up to now, it’s been the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter. The biggest challenge is to find ways to reduce or offset emitted greenhouse gases. Influential research groups that work closely with the Chinese government have proposed several scenarios on how to reach carbon neutrality. All plans agree that China needs to start producing electricity with techniques that produce net-zero carbon emissions.

Zhang Xiliang, a climate modeler at Tsinghua University’s Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development, co-developed a proposal with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The proposal calls to ramp up the use of renewable energy sources. For example, it plans to increase solar energy 16-fold and wind energy ninefold, followed by a sixfold increase in nuclear power and twofold increase in hydropower. However, ...

About the Author

Smriti Mallapaty is a senior science reporter for Nature. She specializes in the Asia-Pacific region.

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