Wind and solar targets may be achieved early

A wind power plant in Dingxi, Gansu province. [Photo/Xinhua]

China may achieve its 2030 target on wind and solar energy development five years earlier than planned, according to a recent study.

Provincial-level regions across the country have planned to increase the installed capacity for wind and solar energies by at least 800 million kilowatts during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, said the study, which was conducted by the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

This means that China may be able to beat its target of increasing the installed electricity capacity for these two types of renewable energies to 1.2 billion kilowatts just by 2025, it said.

According to the national implementation plan on promoting the high-quality development of new energy in the new era, which was revealed last year, China aims to realize the target by 2030. The target was previously announced by President Xi Jinping at the Climate Ambition Summit on Dec 12,2020.

Ma Jun, head of the institute, said the research is based on documents that have been made public by 30 provincial-level regions across the country.

China aims to peak carbon dioxide emissions before the end of this decade and go carbon neutral before 2060.

All of the 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland have pledged to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030, Ma said, adding that the Tibet autonomous region is not covered by the study, considering its special development model.

China has adhered to the principle of prioritizing environmental protection in Tibet's development. Currently, industrial development is banned or restricted in many parts of the region.

The study includes an index scale from 0 to 100 to describe the performance of regions in implementing the country's climate targets, with 30 for climate ambitions, 40 for the state of low-carbon development and 30 for emission trends. There are also some subindexes under each of the three categories.

The 31 provincial-level regions achieved a total score of 1,295.5 last year, 10 points higher than in 2021, the study said.

In general, they have experienced more increases in the scores for climate ambitions and the state of low-carbon development.

"This shows that despite grim challenges, there has been progress in provincial-level regions' climate actions," Ma said.

Half of the 10 best-performing provincial-level regions are from the eastern part of the country, including Beijing and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, according to the study.

Yang Pingjian, a researcher with the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences and also a lead author of the study, has stressed a coordinated national response as regions across the country forge ahead with climate actions.

But this doesn't mean that regions have to move forward shoulder to shoulder, he said.

Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces are the top four most economically developed provinces in China. In total, they contribute 35 percent of the country's GDP and 28 percent of its carbon emissions, he said. These regions should take the lead in climate actions.

Yang also called for cooperation between regions that are major energy exporters — many of which are located in the western part of the country — and those that are major energy consumers.

The cooperation mechanism will make full use of the advantages of the central and eastern regions in terms of talent, technology and funding to accelerate the development of the rich renewable energy resources in the west, he said.