Carbon neutrality goal can save China $134 trillion by 2100: Study
Published: Nov 30, 2021 08:58 PM
Aerial photo taken on August 19, 2020 shows wind turbines in Jiucaiping scenic spot in Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on August 19, 2020 shows wind turbines in Jiucaiping scenic spot in Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Photo: Xinhua

The goal of reaching carbon neutrality before 2060 can help China avoid $134 trillion in climate change losses by 2100, said a study from Tsinghua University, which estimates that the country suffers from $50 billion financial losses annually caused by climate disasters, accounting for 0.4 percent of its GDP. 

Under existing commitments, the global temperature is estimated to rise three degrees by 2100, and climate losses will account for 5 percent of China's GDP and cumulative climate-related losses will reach $189 trillion, said a report by the Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy at Tsinghua University, which was sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.

Climate change is estimated to cause China $290 trillion of economic losses, and the country's goal of achieving carbon neutrality before 2060 can avoid 80 percent of the losses, it said. 

China needs to make a huge effort to achieve carbon neutrality. Carbon neutrality targets can also avoid economic losses from climate change. Estimating climate-related losses would help China better achieve its carbon neutrality goal, said Teng Fei, a professor at the institute. 

In September, China set a goal of striving to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

The country issued a white paper in late October, which says that China's above-mentioned target marks the world's highest reduction in carbon emissions intensity and the shortest time in achieving the goal of going from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in global history.

China submitted two documents on its nationally determined contributions and long-term emission control strategies to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change before COP26 convened in Glasgow, Scotland earlier November. 

Climate scientists said that China is one of the countries bearing the largest burden of climate change disasters. 

Globally, about 70 percent of deaths caused by heat waves are among the elderly, and the percentage is even higher in China, with 77 percent of all 14,000 deaths resulting from heat waves in 2020 among people aged 65 and over, Cai Wenjia, director of the Lancet Countdown Regional Center for Asia and one of the lead authors of the 2021 China report, told the Global Times previously.

From January to October, floods affected 58.9 million people nationwide, according to data released by the Ministry of Emergency Management on Monday, with 590 people dead and missing, 3.5 million people relocated, and 203,000 houses destroyed, resulting in 240 billion yuan ($37.5 billion) in losses. 

Yet China has become the target of criticism by many Western countries for not doing enough to tackle climate change. They always chide China for its carbon emissions, consumption of fossil fuels and so forth.

Developing countries should have the opportunity to improve the lives of their people. This is where the ''stock'' of greenhouse gas emissions matters. Developed countries have played the biggest role in causing climate change, and to let the rest of the world develop they have to acknowledge this, Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times. 

"It is simply unfair for developed countries, which have relied on coal to fuel economic development that was unrestrained for centuries, to ask developing countries, which just started an economic takeoff, to abandon coal completely," said Lin.