Climate goal China

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Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have been the primary driver of climate change. Much of these emissions have come from China, which has had the world’s largest carbon footprint since 2004 and was responsible for 28.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China has faced widespread criticism from the international community.

Beijing also faces domestic pressure to address environmental concerns while maintaining economic growth. In 2015 China pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65% from 2005 levels under a plan submitted to the United Nations. Being the world’s largest carbon emitter a great responsibility is fell on China’s shoulders.

China has committed that it would increase the share of non-fossil fuels as part of its primary energy consumption to about 20% by 2030, and peak emissions by around the same point, though it would “work hard” to do so earlier. 5 years later in 2020 in a virtual meeting of the UN General Assembly, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country planned “to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060″.

During their 13th Five-Year Plan period from 2016 to 2020, China built 20 new nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 23.4 GW, doubling their total capacity to 47 GW. And that is expected to happen again during their next 5-year plan, which has a new target of 70GW of nuclear generation before 2025. And it keeps going. According to Luo Qi of China’s Atomic Energy Research Initiative, “By 2035, nuclear plants in operation should reach around 180 GW” which will be more nuclear than the United States and France combined.

China is even setting up a nuclear university in Tianjin to train nuclear workers for this expansion. China now leads the world in total energy production and also produces almost twice the amount of electricity that the United States does, 4.4 trillion kWh versus 7.5 trillion kWh per year, respectively. As of this month, China has 49 nuclear reactors in operation with a capacity of 47.5 GW, third only to the United States and France. And 17 under construction with a capacity of 18.5 GW. None have been shut down.

Nuclear provides only 2% of China’s electrical power now, but the country intends nuclear to eventually surpass all other sources. This is just about half of the nuclear capacity of the United States which has 94 nuclear reactors in operation with a capacity of 96.5 GW and 2 under construction with a capacity of 2.2 GW. But 39 reactors have been shut down, many for no, particularly good reason. Even so, nuclear provides 20% of America’s electrical power and most of its non-fossil sources.

China has previously drawn nuclear technology from France, Canada, and Russia, but the latest technology acquisition has been from America via Westinghouse and France and is now the main basis of nuclear technology development in China’s immediate future. It is the basis for China’s recent CAP1400 and CAP1000 domestic reactors. But the future will belong to China’s Hualong One and Two technologies, a domestically-developed third-generation reactor design. The first Hualong One unit started commercial operation on January 30th of this year.

The Hualong technology was jointly developed by the China National Nuclear Corporation and the China General Nuclear Power Corporation. Eighty-eight percent of its components are made domestically, including all core equipment, suggesting mass production capability. China is also helping Pakistan which has six nuclear power Plants; out of which five China’s design to produce about 2540 Megawatt electricity.

On 21th May 2021, Pakistan has contributed 1100 megawatts in the national through power plant K2 located at Karachi and Inaugurated by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.  Four more such Nuclear power plants in the pipeline. One K3 0f 1100 Mega watts at Karachi shall be functional by December 2021 or early month’s 2022. The other three of course shall take time. These all are of Chinese design.

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